LIBYA ON THE BRINK…. The Libyan government has largely shutdown Internet access in its country, restricted journalists, and made telephone service limited. But reports from inside Libya nevertheless make it clear that the Qaddafi regime is responding viciously to the ongoing uprising and may not survive.

Libya appeared to slip further from the grip of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Tuesday, as clashes intensified in Tripoli and opposition forces in eastern Libya moved to consolidate control of the region.

Witnesses described the streets of Tripoli, the capital, as a war zone. In several neighborhoods of the city, including one called Fashloum, protesters tried to seal off the streets with makeshift barricades of scrap steel and other debris. Forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi so far failed to surmount the barricades and young protesters appeared to be gathering rocks to throw in their defense in anticipation of a renewed attack.

Outside the barricades, militiamen and Bedouin tribesmen defending the strongman and his 40-year rule were stationed at intersections around the city. Many carried Kalashnikov assault rifles and an anti-aircraft gun was deployed in front of the state television headquarters.

Protests intensified after the government massacred hundreds of protestors, and Libyan embassies have begun distancing themselves from their own government. By late yesterday, the members of Libya’s mission to the United Nations publicly repudiated Qaddafi, accusing him of war crimes.

For his part, Qaddafi responded to rumors that he’d fled the country by appearing briefly — about 20 seconds — on Libyan television overnight, with an umbrella.

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This morning, Libya’s ambassador to the United States, Ali Suleiman Aujalisaid, who resigned from Qaddafi’s government but not from his diplomatic post, told ABC News, “Tripoli is burning. The people are being killed in a brutal way. The people are armless.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.