With Obama insisting the "noose is tightening" around Muammar Gaddafi's regime, the embattled Libyan leader has unveiled a new tactic by which to portray an image of internal solidarity: women at arms.
As the Guardian is reporting, a government-sanctioned "graduation ceremony" for women who had been given weapons training in defense of the regime was held in the town of Bani Walid. Invited and escorted by government minders, the journalists arrived to find 500 women of all ages clapping, singing and waving flags in Gaddafi's honor.
"We love Muammar Gaddafi and we want to save our country," 14-year-old Fatima Hassan is quoted as saying. "He made us happy. He makes us eat and makes the country free to do what we want. Before, we weren't free. My grandparents tell us that before Gaddafi, it was bad, there was no bread. He saved us."
Though reporters are said to have pondered just how much the event had been stage managed in advance, the images of fearsome-looking Libyan women -- from young teens to grandmothers -- wielding rifles and weapons are nonetheless frightening.
Take a look at photos of Gaddafi's female fighters below: