The optimism of a few weeks ago that Col. Muammar Qaddafi would be ousted by a flexing of people power similar to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia is now a distant memory.
The chaotic collapse of rebel positions in eastern Libya in the past week is sapping the morale out of the rag-tag rebel troops that had been rapidly driving west just days ago.
The optimism of a few weeks ago that Col. Muammar Qaddafi, who has ruled Libya through the torture and execution of political opponents since 1969, would be swept by a flexing of people power similar to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia is now a distant memory.
In Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi, activists and average citizens say they feel abandoned by the international community and need weapons and other material support fast, or Qaddafi will be able to plunge the country into a protracted civil war.
“If we don’t get international protection in the next week or less, this dream will be finished,” says Abdlekader Kadura, a politics professor in Benghazi. “We can hold out, but it’s not only about Benghazi, we have hope for all the Libyan people who are thirsty for liberty and democracy. The rest of Libya could be in big trouble.”