In the aftermath of the Tunisian and Egyptian popular revolutions, and the role both countries' Armies had in their success, the question that begs itself is this: What is the Combat Ideology of the Arab armies? The combat ideology roughly translates to a clear definition of the rules of engagement; a clear definition of the "enemy", which can be as clear as a national existential enemy like Israel for example, or a local occurring threat from a neighbour or a group in the shape of a military attack or an act of espionage or terrorism.
In both the Egyptian and Tunisian cases, the Combat ideology of the army saw the people as the source of legitimacy and the only constant in the equation, whereas the head of state was seen as the variable, despite him being the commander in chief as per the constitutional delegation within the presidential duties. This was the nexus under which the revolutions succeeded in their ultimate goal of removing the head of state. Without the backing of the armed forces, the people would've been mascaraed and the world wouldn't have known about it, or would've seen and heard about it and would've played the constant hypocritical role of calling for restraint.
Now that the Change Express has moved eastwards through Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, it's particularly interesting to observe the role of the military in these events, the tribal nature of the society in all three countries makes it extremely difficult to make a clear cross section distinction between the professional role of the army as the guardian of national interest and the tribal affiliation its members have, an element that might dictate their political position either with the regime against the people, or with the people against the regime.
Libya is in a league of it's own; the Authority of the people isn't admissible if the people doesn't want Gaddafi; in fact, the people is disposable if they challenge his anti authority.
The leader of the revolution is quite known for his clownish behaviour, a source of endless entertainment for those of us lucky enough not to be living under his glorious rule, but the fact remains that he's a thug, probably the worst thug ruler in the Arab World, he's had connections with international terrorists since the 1970s, from Carlos to Abu Nidal, for no reason other than keeping his name alive around the world; a severe condition of psychotic narcissism. he's been financing civil wars across Africa for decades, swindling his country's wealth on outlandish intellectual excursions and his sons' decadent pleasure. Gaddafi is smarter than he looks -as hard as that may sound- he's been walking back and forth on the tight rope of anti westernism since his rise to power in 1969, hitting and running for attention whenever he gets the chance.
The king of African kings is paying African mercenaries to crack down on his own people's revolt against him. In Gaddafi's dictionary, revolting against a life-time revolutionary needed across the globe is a cardinal sin. The Libyan army's reaction wasn't quite clear in the first few days since February 17th, its combat ideology is probably based on devotion to the leader, rather than the country, but we've seen some interesting examples of heresy against this ideology, several army officers and fighter pilots, as well as some high ranking officials within the military have announced their siding with the people against Gaddafi, a clear indication of their belief in the superiority of country and people over leader, even if the leader is the great Muammar. The turning point in the military's siding with the people was probably Gaddafi's seeking of foreign mercenaries, this will probably be proven to be Gaddafi's fatal error, he ended the people army's allegiance to his great leadership when he bought foreigners to fight the army's people.
Gaddafi's days are numbered, but his fall isn't going to be as graceful as those of Bin Ali and Mubarak, his psychotic obsession on being a loved leader makes it very difficult for him to simply pack and leave, even if he's known for travelling light and living in a mobile tent. He will set a precedent, as he does and either commit suicide or be killed, probably the latter.
It is probably a good mental exercise and/or an excellent fortune telling capability to sit and ponder on the combat ideology of the different Arab countries.
God Save Libya.