Gaddafi the Innovator

I generally do not link an old-school dictator like Gaddafi with innovation but here is one in my book from the Al Jazeera live blog:

He also provides another account of security forces using high-caliber, possibly anti-aircraft guns against protesters.

In other posts the doctors mentioned seeing bullets “as big as their fists” in the dead and wounded that they are treating.

I am unaware of any other incidents in recent times when the army began directing high caliber high velocity weapons like this against (unarmed) protesters. I have seen water cannons, tear gas, and then escalating to small arms fire but using these sorts of weapons against civilians from your own nation is truly an innovation by Mr. Gaddafi.

As a commenter noted on my last post Gaddafi is on the United Nations Human Rights Council as you can see here. I would be interested in how directing anti-aircraft weaponry against unarmed protesters plays in the UN – probably not a big deal there, I would imagine.

8 thoughts on “Gaddafi the Innovator”

  1. Absolutely sickening — the weaponry used, and the hypocrisy of his seat on the Council.


    At least the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights doesn’t like that sort of thing. From a press release dated two days ago:

    Pillay denounces violence by security forces in Libya, Bahrain and other countries in Middle East and North Africa

    GENEVA (18 February 2011) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday condemned as illegal and excessively heavy-handed the response of a number of governments in the Middle East and North Africa to the legitimate demands of their people.

    “The use of lethal force by security personnel in Libya has reportedly led to the death of more than 20 protestors,” Navi Pillay said. “This is a country where the human rights situation has generally been very closed to international scrutiny, including by us, but much of the population seems nevertheless to have the same human rights aspirations as people everywhere else.”

    Pillay expressed deep regret for the deaths in recent weeks of protestors in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, adding that she was particularly troubled by targeted attacks by security forces on certain professions.

    “The nature and scope of the human rights violations taking place in several countries in the region in response to those who are largely demonstrating peacefully for their fundamental human rights and freedoms, is alarming,” she said.

    She cited reports of killings of peaceful protesters, arbitrary arrests and detention followed by torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary banning of demonstrations, and suppression of freedom of expression by banning, closing down or imposing restrictions on the media and on Internet access.

    “Particularly egregious are the targeted attacks on journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and even, in the case of Bahrain, doctors and medical personnel attending to injured protestors. The reported use of plainclothes security officials against opposition protestors is very worrying.”

    Pillay condemned the use of live ammunition in recent days against peaceful protestors in Libya, the use of electric tasers and batons in Yemen, and the use of military-grade shotguns in Bahrain.


  2. It’s another indicator he can’t trust his own military and that he had to deploy whatever mercenary units he could trust with whatever equipment he had. The wounds are probably from some 25mm-50mm Soviet anti-aircraft gun that was deployed around the glorious leader’s mansion.

  3. Most likely this is a ZSU-23, i.e., a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of Soviet design, mounting four 23mm autocannon. These were very successful against low-flying Israeli aircraft during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and widely supplied by the USSR to friendly regimes such as Gadaffi’s in Libya. See

    “… The guns are useful against low-flying aircraft and lightly protected ground targets. Due to its effectiveness against ground targets, ZSU-23-4s have been used in urban environments (e.g., Afghanistan, Abkhazia, Chechnya, Lebanon). This is primarily because the guns can elevate much higher than a tank or APC cannon, enabling armored units equipped with ZSU-23-4s to return fire against ambushes from above …”

    This is a vicious weapon against crowds.

  4. Tom may be right. It appears the mercenaries have these and are/were using them.

    Part of the Libyan army has turned and there is a lot of blood spilled. Still, it spreads, I would guess they will turf Gaddafi.

    This will spread all over the middle east. Internet + under 30 population + example from next door. It looks like fire just makes them angry.

    I am very proud of these people taking their countries back from dictators. I fear for all the coming blood and Glen Beck’s mind but this should change everything.

    Just for one, it makes Al Queda irrelevant. It is their death knell.

  5. If the report of doctors pulling bullets out “as big ass their fists” are accurate, then the weapons (ZSU-23) are firing training ammo.

    The projectiles from 23mm cannons are high explosive incendiary, armor piercing incendiary and training.

    The first would leave body parts, not shells.

    The second would have gone through a crowd of human bodies like a 0.9 inch bullet and leave a burning tracer in the wounds besides.

    Training ammo for a ZSU-23 is light weight and aerodynamically high drag, being meant to bleed velocity rapidly. So you don’t need huge amounts of territory for training range safe distances.

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