Saturday, April 2, 2011

Diplomatic setback for Gaddafi, the rebels retreating again

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has suffered a blow Thursday, March 31, with the departure of his Foreign Minister, Moussa Koussa. On the ground, his forces managed to push back in the east of the rebel forces in disarray. The battle for Brega is currently the field, clashes took place late morning around the oil terminal of Brega (800 km east of Tripoli).

Aircraft overflying the region where, earlier, five explosions were heard, witnesses said. On Wednesday, the international coalition had conducted an airstrike against loyalist forces west of Ajdabiya, greeted by rebels who demanded the resumption of strikes, stopped several days earlier.

Loyalist forces resumed Wednesday, March 30, the oil port of Ras Lanuf, 370 km west of the rebel stronghold, Benghazi and Brega progressed. Tripoli has been flown in the night by aircraft of the coalition before the explosions are heard in the suburbs of Salaheddin, south-east of the capital, according to a witness.

The highest ranking U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, said the Libyan army had not yet reached the breaking point, even if the strikes had knocked out nearly a quarter of forces Gaddafi. At 7 am (Paris time) on Thursday, NATO took command of all operations in Libya, taking over from the multinational coalition, while the New York Times reported the deployment of CIA agents to take contact with the rebels and guiding airstrikes.

ABC gave assurances that the U.S. president, Barack Obama had given permission to secretly help the rebels. The same source, "dozens of members of British special forces and agents of MI6 intelligence service working in Libya", in particular to collect information on the positions of the loyalist forces.

The White House has refused "to comment on intelligence matters." Diplomatic blow to Gaddafi Politically, Colonel Qaddafi has suffered a serious setback with the resignation of his Foreign Minister, Moussa Koussa, a leading figure of the plan, announced on his arrival Wednesday night in London.

"His resignation shows that the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, who has already made significant defections, is divided, and collapses under pressure from the inside," said the head of British diplomacy, William Hague. He assured that "Musa Kusa, it will not offer immunity from justice by the British or international justice." "He speaks now of his own accord with British officials." A senior U.S.

official also described the defection as "very important". The departure of Mr. Koussa "demonstrates how the regime is crumbling," held a spokesman of the rebels, Moustapha Gheriani. "Gaddafi has no one" on that count. "Now there are only him and his children," said for his part the former immigration minister Libyan Errishi Ali, who himself defected shortly after the start of the insurgency in mid-February.

In power for nearly forty-two years, Colonel Qaddafi also said that Western leaders had "decided to launch a second crusade between Muslims and Christians across the Mediterranean." "They started something serious they can not control and which will be beyond their control, whatever the means of destruction at their disposal," he said.

The Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has opposed the idea of arming the rebels, saying NATO intervened militarily "to protect the Libyan people, not to arm the people." The French defense minister, Gerard Longuet, has meanwhile said that the delivery of weapons to the rebels was "not on the agenda" because not "compatible" with the UN resolution.

Le Monde. en, with

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