Unlike in Egypt or Tunisia, it is not the conventional military that holds the balance of power in Libya.
Instead, it is a murky network of paramilitary brigades, "revolutionary committees" of trusted followers, tribal leaders and imported foreign mercenaries.
The actual Libyan Army is almost symbolic, a weakened and emaciated force of little more than 40,000, poorly armed and poorly trained. It is part of Col Muammar Gaddafi's long-term strategy to eliminate the risk of a military coup, which is how he himself came to power in 1969.
So the defection this month of some elements of the army to the protesters in Benghazi is unlikely to trouble Col Gaddafi. Not only can he do without them, his security apparatus has not hesitated to call in air strikes on their barracks in the rebellious east of the country.
So, who is propping up his regime and allowing it to stay in power while two of its neighbouring leaders have fled amid a massive momentum for regime change throughout the Middle East?
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