Gaddafi is still there

Today marks two months since the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution on Libya. The operation in the country has resulted in NATO’s failure and confirmation of resiliency of Muammar Gaddafi’s power.

When on the night of March 18 the UN Security Council, under circumstantial pressure, adopted a resolution allowing the bombardment of Libya, it was predicted that Gaddafi would share the fate of Saddam Hussein (the overthrown Iraqi president was hanged according to the sentence of his fellow countrymen). The aerial operation against Tripoli’s loyal troops had then seemed necessary, and even inevitable. After all, according to Western media reports, a civil war had broken out.

But the two months during which Gaddafi has kept going under NATO’s aerial strikes have significantly shifted the emphases in the understanding of the entire situation.

The head of the Institute of Middle East Studies, Yevgeny Satanovsky, talks about the failure of the coalition forces. “These two months have shown that Gaddafi’s government is resilient, and that NATO has failed the operation,” he told Trud. “It was expected that, following a brief bombing campaign, Gaddafi’s troops would break up, but the bombing campaign has dragged on, and the troops have not disbanded.”

The lack of any evident military successes of NATO and Al-Qaeda’s siding with Gaddafi’s opponents has led to another unexpected result. The world’s largest terrorist group has received another tactical element – after looting the military storage facilities, they captured a significant amount of weaponry.

Whereas, before, Gaddafi was ridiculed when saying that the West and Al-Qaeda were fighting against him, now, this has been confirmed, says Satanovsky. Mikhail Delyagin from the Institute of Globalization Studies goes further in his assessment: “This is, in fact, an unprecedented alliance of the NATO forces and Al-Qaeda.”

The main result of the NATO operation is the serious reputational losses sustained by the alliance. “The resiliency of Gaddafi’s power, especially against the background of the operations in Iraq and Serbia, has shown that the only one who is vulnerable to NATO is one who wants to be vulnerable,” says head of the Islamic Committee of Russia, Geidar Dzhemal.

However, for the Libyan people, the main result has been the loss, according to various estimates, of 1,000-6,000 lives. However, if NATO had not intervened in the situation, everything could have ended much worse, says Aleksandr Tkachenko, director of the Center for the Study of North Africa and the Horn of Africa. “The main result of these two months has been the ability to put a stop to the attempts to drown in blood the country’s opposition movement,” the expert tells Trud. However, Gaddafi’s future is very uncertain. According to Tkachenko, a political resolution of the conflict is possible only in the case of Gaddafi’s withdrawal. But it’s hard to believe that he will leave. “The leader of the Jamahiriya could become a guerilla warrior and live in the desert, or he could tear the country into several pieces if he is cornered,” says Satanovsky.

The twists and turns of the operation in Libya play to Russia’s advantage. Today, against the background of the operational failures, Moscow’s decision to abstain from voting on the UN Security Council’s resolution looks particularly wise. And if the situation worsens, Russia could act as a regulator and “make the coalition members look foolish,” says Dzhemal.

[Source: By Andrey Kompaneyets, RT, Moscow, 18May11]

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