The uprising in Libya has rattled oil markets. Crude oil prices closed at the highest level in two years on Tuesday as the uprising threatened to disrupt exports. Libya, an OPEC member, is the 17th largest oil producer in the world, producing 1.7 million barrels per day.
In nearly an hour-long, often rambling speech Tuesday, an angry Gadhafi vowed to fight to his "last drop of blood," blamed the protests on foreigners and "rats," and said he would unleash a massive crackdown if protesters don't back down.
The violent clashes in Libya in the past week between security forces and protesters have many people scrambling to leave Libya.
Even Gadhafi's own daughter was reportedly trying to leave the country. Italian news agency Ansa and Malta Today said that a Libyan Airlines flight -- with Aisha Gadhafi reportedly on board -- attempted to land in Malta today but was turned back to Tripoli.
Aisha Gadhafi later appeared on Libyan state TV and denied the reports.
The U.S. State Department was attempting to evacuate Americans out of the capital of Tripoli by ferry to the nearby island of Malta today, but the ferry could not leave because of turbulent weather.
Earlier today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States is evaluating all options to pressure Libya to end the violence and influence the government.
In an interview, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States could not quickly enforce a no-fly zone over Libya -- a plea many protesters and dissenters have made -- and that Italy and France would be better poised for that.
U.S. oil sector workers might potentially be stranded in many remote parts of the North African country, according to various media reports. The British government estimates that up to 170 of their nationals working for oil companies in remote, isolated, desert camps are stranded and that some of the camps have been subjected to attacks and looting.
"They are in a perilous and frightening situation," U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said. "All of us are conscious that the situation in Libya is very different from that we faced in Tunisia or Egypt. ... In Libya, what is happening is civil strife: a country split geographically in two, split between government and people, and with widespread breakdown of law and order."
Several oil and gas companies have said in recent days that they were in the process of activating emergency plans to repatriate their staffs, a process that will take a few days.
At the Saloum border crossing on Libya's eastern border with Egypt, chaos erupted as a non-stop stream of Egyptians returned home to escape the violence.
The road leading to the border essentially turned into a parking lot and a line of white vans stretched out into the horizon as far as the eye could see. There were so many cars and people carrying everything from bags of clothes to TVs, doors and washing machines that everyone was stuck.
The Egyptians – mostly migrant workers coming from the second largest city of Benghazi – reported stories of widespread, brutal killings.
A father of six said he had seen fighter jets attacking people and criminals being released into the streets. "It's a war."
Another said he ran into gunmen on his way to the border and had to kiss their feet to pass.
One man told ABC News African mercenaries were everywhere.