Gaddafi on the Run

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The Tripoli operation had been in the works for months. Ex-pat Libyans who fought in the war with Chad back in the 1980s, but had a falling out with Gaddafi, formed “The Libyan Salvation Front,” taking raw recruits, training them in the western mountains, and then deploying them along the road to Tripoli. Qatar also sent troops to train these “Tripoli Brigades,” who were the vanguard in the assault on the capital.

The NTC, with NATO’s help, also formed irregular armed units inside the city limits of Tripoli itself. They were activated when the Tripoli Brigades approached the city, probably using mosques to pass messages from the TNC to the “sleeper cells.” An amphibious assault from Misrata delivered hundreds of the rebels’ most experienced fighters. The months-long siege of that port city forged troops experienced in urban fighting, and this stood the rebellion in good stead when it began to systematically clear neighborhoods of armed resistance.

But as long as Gaddafi is at large, he will be a threat to the stability of the new regime. Ideally, the dictator would be exiled to someplace that would welcome him — Sudan has been prominently mentioned because it is right next door to Libya. But also Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela might serve as a home for the displaced dictator.

But Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief, who defected last weekend, doesn’t think he will surrender or go to into exile. Abdel-Salam Jalloud told an Italian radio station, “I think it’s impossible that he’ll surrender,” adding, “He doesn’t have the courage, like Hitler, to kill himself.”

That may be. But regardless of what fate befalls Gaddafi, the TNC has a monumental job ahead of it. The council announced that several TNC officials had arrived in Tripoli to oversee the transition. Meanwhile, the US will ask the UN Security Council to immediately release $1.5 billion in frozen assets by the end of the week. This should set the stage for the release of another $5 billion requested by the TNC who face a humanitarian crisis without an immediate infusion of cash.

Surprising opposition to the release of more funds is coming from South Africa, which does not object in principle to releasing money for humanitarian concerns, but is balking at recognizing the TNC as a legitimate government. The South Africans want to confer with the African Union and wish to delay the release of the bulk of the funds. “Every other member of the council is supportive so we’re hopeful things will progress,” one Western diplomat said. All told, there are $160 billion in frozen assets being held up by the UN and Western banks.

But the major immediate concern for the TNC is security. To that end, they have asked the police to remain at their posts, although those wanted for crimes during the crackdown will be arrested and tried.

Of great concern is the fact that there are thousands of ill-trained young men walking around the city of Tripoli with automatic weapons and setting up make-shift checkpoints. The task of organizing security will be done in conjunction with several other nations including Jordan, Britain, France, and Qatar. Western troops are not expected to take part in securing the country.

Another major issue is the unity of the TNC. Over the last several months, there has been much infighting and not much agreement among the several factions that make up the council. Secularists who want democracy, Islamists who want Sharia, socialists, environmentalists, and others all want a say in who next runs Libya. Complicating matters are tribal jealousies that have split the council along traditional lines. If a prolonged power struggle is in the offing, the fractious nation could become an incubator of radicalism, or in the worst case, become a hostile Sharia state, marginalizing and repressing secular liberal elements.

Despite questions about the extent of rebel gains, it appears very likely that Muammar Gaddafi is finished. However, getting rid of a dictator might seem in retrospect to have been the easy part in rebuilding a country riven by factions, plagued by security issues, and fearful of an unknown future.

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  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Gaddafi on the run ? and the muslimbrotherhood running in ?

  • Rayczar

    Ho-hum, another tin-horn dictator on the run. The Obama kick-ass
    policy!!! Who cares??? We have prime time news on a senseless
    move on B.O. s part to add to his election resume.
    In reality Daffy's seat will be filled with a leader with more speedy hate
    toward America and Israel.
    Iam sure when hollywood comes out with their film, B.O. will be lauded
    as a great fearless leader who encouraged more hate in Egypt, Libya, Syria,
    et al middle east arab crazies, and his execution of Bin Laden.
    Rah, rah, ho-hum prime time history in the making.
    What a "leader"!


  • BLJ

    Like I said before Gaddafi is a survivor. He has been in power since 1969 and has learned a few things about staying alive. The media and Obama admin's fawning over these "rebels" is making me want to puke. Talk about "Dumb and Dumber".

  • WilliamJamesWard

    What a mess, is this and Obama example of Nation building? For Europe it's about
    the oil, but who will we call stupid, well everyone in this gets a Stupid pin, make
    that and Obama lapel pin with a UN background building a new emerging world
    order………………………………………Will Obama start dressing like Gaddafi, might
    as well, I think he has shaped his presidency on Gaddafi insight and aplomb.
    If there is a place for Daffi maybe he could be Mayor of NYC bringing some
    needed order and respectability to the disaster of the Bloomberg Caliphate.

  • tanstaafl

    I've got it! A new reality tv show! "Dictator's Island"! Each week, a freshly deposed dictator arrives at the island to be eased into civilian life.

    I should copyright this……..

  • TCM

    It is coming out now how NATO and its allies have been working for months to take over Libya, hiring Al Quaeda and other mercenaries, preparing their forces, encouraging and financing fanatics, while Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy were shaking Ghadaffi's hand. There was no year of diplomacy and ultimatums like the events that preceded Iraq. Not a word. Without warning "rebels" started their uprising and when Ghadaffi responded, the media was there with cameras to make films for our TV's and the UN.

    Do you really believe the "humanitarian" line? Remember when Iran had a fake election, and real protesting Iranians were being raped and slaughtered by their government? Nobody from NATO even bothered to give speeches of support.

    This treacheous attack will have consequences. Countries that remember how Ghadaffi stopped his nuclear development programs to be friends with the West now realize it was a mistake they can't afford. What insanity!

  • andries

    gaddafi is trippin