As fighting intensifies during the Libya protest against Muammar al-Qaddafi, gas prices continue to climb. Overnight, gasoline jumped another nickel, bringing the national average to $3.51 for a gallon of unleaded. Rebel forces are getting hammered, losing ground in several areas. This morning, crude oil prices blew past the $106 mark for the first time in nearly two and a half years. The situation is looking more and more like Qaddafi remaining in power. Meanwhile, on the Sunday talk shows, Senators John McCain and John Kerry both offered more support for an international response to Qaddafi, including establishing a ‘no-fly-zone’ over Libya.
Fierce fighting near the oil port city of Ras Lanuf caused the rebels to pull back after strafed by aircraft. The western city of Misrata saw heavy civilian casualties with reports of 21 killed and 91 wounded on Sunday. Other key cities like Zawiya, Tobruk and Bin Jawad are either back in Qaddafi′s hands completely or show signs of rebel control weakening. A week ago, the rebels claimed to be in full control of each of these communities.
Benghazi is still under rebel control despite some renewed fighting there. A provisional government has been established and is calling for international assistance. On Sunday, Libya′s capitol of Tripoli saw a large pro-Qaddafi demonstration with thousands taking to the street to support him. Whatever momentum the rebels seemed to have had a week ago is rapidly fading as Qaddafi takes the initiative and is striking back hard.
So there appears to be little doubt now that the Libya protest will not end anytime soon and Qaddafi may wind up staying in power. This bad news continues to cause gas prices to climb. Crude oil prices hit a 29-month high this morning, breaking the $106 a barrel mark. Unlike in Tunisia or Egypt, Libya is looking more like a real civil war. All eyes are keeping fixed on Saudi Arabia, which may erupt on Friday when a ‘Day of Rage’ protest begins there. If that should turn into a genuine revolt, then there is no telling how high oil and gasoline prices may go.