Muammar’s powerful army is bombing and shelling rebel-held cities, “flattening” Zawiyah and killing hundreds of fighters, while the European Union talks about placing new sanctions on the dictator.

With virtually the whole world against him, Qaddafi has taken the upper hand and turned what last week seemed to be certain defeat into a savage retaliation that has left most of the city of Zawiyah without utilities while dozens of bodies lay in the streets.

”Zawiyah as you knew it no longer exists. They have been attacking the town from 10 in the morning until 11:30 in the evening,' Zawiyah resident, Ibrahim, was quoted as saying, according to the London Daily Mail.

The insurgent’s motivation and hate of Qaddafi have proven no match for tanks and warplanes while Qaddafi continues to make weird and meandering speeches on television.

The United Nations has placed economic and military sanctions against the dictator, and the European Union plans to slap wider sanctions, its foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday.

“We are now in the process of adding several entities controlled by Qaddafi and his closest associates to that list,” Ashton told the European Parliament. She did not detail what measures would be taken, but they likely will include freezing European holdings of several Libyan investment funds and Libyan Foreign Bank.

However, judging by Qaddafi’s actions, he is adamant to hold on to power and crush the rebellion, at all costs. In his fourth meandering televised speech since the uprising broke out, he accused the United States, Britain and France of trying to take control of Libya’s oil resources and control its wealth. As before, he blamed al-Qaeda terrorists for the rebellion.

Despite the brutality, which began with a mass slaughter of protesters by Qaddafi's forces two weeks ago, the United States is keeping its distance from the idea of military intervention.The idea of a “no-fly” zone so far has been rejected by U.S. President Barack Obama, whose advisers are reticent about being accused of interfering with Libyan’s sovereignty despite what amounts to genocide by Qaddafi.

The United Nations might consider a no-fly zone, but support from China and Russia is not certain. If the international body approves it, it may come too late to prevent a civil war in Libya’s scattered tribal society.

Qaddafi unleashed massive air strikes Tuesday on the oil city of Ras Lanuf, which the rebels had controlled on their way towards Tripoli before being driven back by air raids.

The rebels’ biggest weapon is morale which foreign media report is lacking in Qaddafi’s forces. The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies reported this week, “The loyalty of the air force has also been called into question as many bombs have been reportedly dropped miles from their targets.”