Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, writes on the Guardian's Comment is Free site: "Assuming that the Libyan protesters have the stamina and determination of those in Tunisia and Egypt , even in the face of gunfire, the resolution of the conflict seems to depend on two factors: will the disturbances spread to the different urban environment of Tripoli? And will the army – composed of Libyans, not foreign mercenaries, and therefore open to tribal influences which are largely unknown – continue to be willing to fire on unarmed civilians?"Report in the New York Times on the battle for Benghazi:
Several residents of Benghazi described an ongoing battle for control of the city, Libya’s second-largest, with a population of more than half a million. By Sunday, thousands of protesters had occupied a central square in front of the courthouse, which some call their Tahrir Square after the epicenter of the Egyptian revolt, and they were chanting the same slogans that echoed through the streets of Tunis and Cairo, “The people want to bring down the regime.”
By evening, two witnesses said, the protesters had stormed the security headquarters, and, these witnesses said, a few members of the security forces had defected to join the protesters. “These young men are taking bullets in their chests to confront the tyrant,” Mr. Hadi said, speaking by phone from the siege of the security building.
But more than a thousand other members of the security forces had hardly surrendered. They were concentrated a few miles away from the courthouse in a barracks in the neighborhood of Berqa. Witnesses said young protesters were attempting suicidal attacks on the barracks with thrown rocks, stun grenades usually used for fishing, or occasionally vehicles stolen from the security forces. But the security forces responded by shooting from the cover of the fortified building, while others shot from vehicles as they cruised the side streets....
Benghazi, the traditional hub of the country’s eastern province, has long been a center of opposition to the Qaddafi government centered in Tripoli. In 1996, it was the site of a massacre at the Abu Slim prison, when security forces shot more than 1,000 prisoners. Those killings have since become a major rallying point for Qaddafi critics there.