Libya Gov't Warns Bloodshed Will Escalate

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Hundreds are dead in Libya as bloody clashes between anti-government protesters and Moammar Gadhafi's Army, are pushing the country to the brink of civil war.

The Libyan government warned Monday that the bloodshed will escalate if protests continue. Still, despite being fired on by their own military, protesters continued demonstrating, determined to force change after 40 years of Gadhafi's notorious reign.

The U.S. State Department has ordered all non-emergency embassy personnel to leave the country amid the chaos.

What's the danger if Gadhafi falls? CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck gives more perspective, plus more on whether a Kohmeini-style leader could be rising in Egypt, on CBN Newswatch, Feb. 21, following this report.

In an address, Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, said reform talks will begin in a matter of days. But he warned Libya is not Egypt and continued demonstrations would lead to civil war.
    
"We will fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet," he said, in a rambling and sometimes confused speech of nearly 40 minutes.

"There will be bloodshed" he said. "Rivers of blood will flow."

On Sunday, snipers opened fire from rooftops on mourners leaving a funeral in Benghazi. Government supporters fired shots from speeding vehicles sporting Gadhafi's face.

So far, thousands have been wounded. One hospital worker estimated that at least 200 people have been killed.

"Actually I can't see the specific number, but unfortunately, there are plenty of them, maybe more than 200," a worker said. "But all the hospitals are full of dead bodies -- even the fridges are full."

"Some people are working as volunteers in the hospital and more of them trying to help," he added. "We're checking numbers, to hold them back if they need any other help."

Unrest in Libya and the Middle East is the main topic at the European Union's summit meeting in Brussels.

"Would you imagine to have an Islamic Arab Emirate at the borders of Europe?" Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini posed. "This would be a very serious threat and that's why we consider Libya one of the areas to be taken into full consideration, wishing for peaceful reconciliation."

How much to interfere is a delicate balance leaders across the world are trying to strike.

"This process can be hijacked, it can be hijacked by both outside and inside elements from any country," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

President Barack Obama is receiving briefs on the situation, and the White House is analyzing the speech delivered by Gadhafi's son to decide whether there are real possibilities for democratic changes.    

Libya is one of the largest oil producers in the world. Oil prices spiked after Seif Gadhafi warned Libya's oil wealth "will be burned" if the situation escalates into civil war.

But to some demonstrators, it's all worth the price.

Meanwhile, protests continued in Bahrain. And in Yemen, thousands marched in the capital over the weekend.

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.