Gaddafi is dead, long live the war

After helping to kill Qaddafi, NATO prepares to end Libya mission
DEBKAfile Special Report October 21, 2011,

Once the fact of Muammar Qaddafi’s abrupt demise on Thursday, Oct. 20, is absorbed, Libya will be left with the same power struggle between pro- and anti-Qaddafi loyalists as before – with the added horror of blood revenge pursued by his clan and tribal allies.

Until proved otherwise, Saif al Islam and his siblings are still around. Their own Qadhafah tribe and its allies, the Warfalla, Al-Awaqir and Magariha, will not rest until they avenge their leader’s death. Furthermore, those tribes remain as hostile as ever to rule over their territory by the National Transitional Council and the tribes of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya which the NTC represents.

If the interim government had demonstrated any ability to rule a nation and bring a measure of unity to its disparate parts, the National Transitional Council might have stood a chance of bringing them together for national reconciliation. To the contrary, however, the NTC has displayed no competence as a governing body and is sundered by endless squabbling among the rebel militias controlling Tripoli, the armed groups of Western Libya and the Islamist militias, including the Muslim Brotherhood and elements close to Al Qaeda, which control parts of Tripoli and Eastern Libya.

Therefore, Qaddafi’s demise will probably achieve not much more than an opportunity for NATO to end its military intervention in Libya and pull out ahead of the upsurge of bloody conflicts unleashed Thursday.

It is now clear that Muammar Qaddafi, who ruled Libya for 42 years until his overthrow on Aug. 23 by NATO-backed rebels, was wounded but alive when he reached rebel hands. He was later killed by a shot to the head. But the circumstances leading up to his last moments are disputed.

debkafile’s military sources report mounting indications that a NATO special forces unit – although of which nation is unknown – located and captured Muammar Qaddafi in the Sirte area.

They apparently shot him in both legs to prevent his escape and informed a Misrata militia of his whereabouts, knowing they would kill him in view of the town’s long reckoning with the former Libyan ruler. NATO was guided by two considerations: First not to comprise the presence of ground troops in the battle zone in breach of the alliance’s UN mandate; and second, to give the Libyan rebels a psychological victory – especially after they failed in battle to capture Qaddafi’s home town of Sirte.

It was also important for his death to be laid at the door of his own people, not NATO.

Western alliance leaders figured that as long as Qaddafi was alive and at liberty, the interim government had no chance of establishing its legitimacy and a stable administration and calling an end to the war.

His death enables NATO to draw a line on its Libyan venture – but not the war.

October 21, 2011 | 1 Comment »

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  1. I don’t see much value, in viewing the situation in Lybia in local terms. From the start, events there have been dictated by foreign intervention — to whit, by a neo-colonialist upsurge by NATO that had its beginnigs in the Gulf wars, in Kosovo and in Afghanistan and has spread to Pakistan, Yemen and other countries. Qadaffi was assasinated by NATO — either by an airstrike, as claimed by the Lybian rebels, or by a special ops unit as suggested by DEBKA. Qadaffi’s predictable mishandling by the rebels, after NATO directed them to the wounded leader, was simply a photo op. It’s a foregone conclusion, that any government that forms there (IF it forms) will be a puppet of the British, French and Americans; and that once their active assistance is withdrawn, the country will fall apart.

    Qadaffi was wounded to death, according to reports, by an American NCO in Nevada at a video console. Coming only a few months after the bin Laden assasination, I think it’s safe to say that targeted assasinations have now become the backbone of US defense strategy. Ironically, we have become the new “Assasins of Alamut”, modeling our policy on that of an extremist sect of Middle-Ages Iranian Muslims. It’s a new strategy for us, and time will tell how effective it will turn out to be.

    Meanwhile, the coming conflict with Turkey stands to dwarf all others. Turkey is trying to steer the belligerence into a naval direction, by provoking the Israelis, Greeks and Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean. They have a distinct numerical naval advantage over the Israelis (whose major armaments consist of three submarines and three corvettes), and rough parity with the financially troubled Greeks. Israel could not meet them head-on in a strictly naval contest; but if it were serious about protecting its national security natural gas assets, Israel would have to respond to Turkish provocation with an all-out war, beginning with neutralization of the Turkish Air Force and Navy. With a US base right in southern Turkey, this could become a dicey matter.

    Turkey’s other fronts with Israel are a still-incipient relationship with Egypt (which I see as of little value), and the prospect of becoming Israel’s new northern neighbor via intervention in Syria. Since Syrian President Assad seems to be the next likely major assasination target by NATO, the events in Libya are portentious.