There was never much doubt that Muammar Qaddafi of Libya was a deluded narcissist but the incredible violence he has unleashed on his own people this week has now established that the man is a raving lunatic who will happily see his country descend into complete chaos and destruction rather than release his group on power.
Qaddafi still has loyal armed forces at his disposal despite the rapidly growing defections from within the Army and Air force. These forces, some of whom are lead by one of his sons, are bolstered it appears by large numbers of African mercenaries and together they have been engaging in seemingly wanton killing of civilians.
Many countries had large numbers of their citizens working in Libya and there is a scramble to get the remainder of these people out of the country. Western leaders have been slow to take action against the Libyan regime and this might be seen as at least in part due to the fact that they are still playing catch-up with fast moving events in Mediterranean Africa and the Middle East. However it also seems likely that they are only just now beginning to take firm positions on such matters as sanctions because of a fear that their citizens in Libya might be taken hostage by the regime. That fear should now be rapidly passing though and the time has come to consider what further actions might be taken to support the Libyan peoples revolution.
Passing resolutions at the UN and throwing Libya out of international Human Rights organisations is all very symbolic but is likely to have little effect on the decisions taken by a madman. Neither is the imposition of sanctions likely to have any impact in the short term on the murderous behaviour of Gaddafi's regime. Threats that members of the regime will be taken to an international court might work for a sane leader but probably wont work with Qaddafi.
Qaddafi it seems has decided that if he cant rule Libya then he and his country have reached their Gotterdamerung. This man is mad enough to want to go out in an orgy of blood and destruction rather than step aside.
The only question then at this stage is whether a way can be found for Qaddafi to meet his fate without him taking the lives of many more thousands of Libyans with him.
A no fly zone wont really deal with this situation and there will be little appetite in the west for any intervention on the ground. Western armies do now though have access to remote technologies that could be used to target Qaddafi and either kill him or weaken him enough to allow the Libyan people to complete their revolution.
One solution to this present situation might be for the security council to recognise the madness of this dictator and to authorise the use of cruise missiles and /or drones to target Qaddafi's known centres of power and known loyal armed force bases.
It would not be wise for any group of nations to do this without UN backing of course but with UN security council support this would be a legitimate act. The problem is that the security council has on it nations who themselves are autocratic states such as Russia and China who will not wish to authorise actions against a tyrant - even a mad tyrant - when they themselves are little better and may now themselves be feeling vulnerable to this wave of people revolutions. So the cruise missiles and drones will probably stay in their bases. More the pity.