Libya: new outburst of information war

A flow of rather controversial information is coming from the Libyan capital city of Tripoli. Foreign media reports insist the city is almost completely in the hands of Muammar Gaddafi’s opponents, whereas the Colonel’s officials say the opposition only controls a fifth part. The more often rebels claim to have reached another success, the less credible their information appears.

 The day before, Gaddafi rivals for the third time said to have killed his son Khamis before reports appeared that he was seen leading a military force towards downtown Tripoli to help his father.

This night, Seif al-Islam, the youngest of Gaddafi’s seven sons allegedly captured by opposition members, had a conversation with foreign journalists at the Rixos hotel in the Bab Al-Aziziya district. He denied assertions about Tripoli’s being under full control of the rebel army.

 “Firstly I want to deny all the rumors. NATO and the West have modern technology and they blocked and jammed communications. They sent messages to the Libyan people through the Libyana network, I think. They stopped the (state TV) broadcasts, they’ve created a media and electronic war to spread chaos and fear in Libya,” Seif al-Islam said.

He also invited foreign journalists to accompany him on a trip around the capital, insisting that videos of the Tripoli’s seizure were made in another Libyan city.

Muammar Gaddafi’s whereabouts remain a puzzle as well. Seif al-Islam says he is in Tripoli, even though many people are doubtful about this, assuming that the Colonel could have departed to Venezuela, South Africa or neighboring Algeria. No one has so far managed to provide accurate data about this, with head of the National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdel Jalil hoping that Gaddafi will be taken alive to face trial.

"He has no soldiers left, only a handful of volunteers and mercenaries. But these people are mistaken - the regime collapsed, Tripoli fell and the Gaddafi era is over," Mustafa Abdel Jalil said.

Such an assessment is not shared by director of the “Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace” organization Franklin Lamb who is also paying a visit to Tripoli. According to him, Gaddafi is simply luring the rebels into a trap and will soon launch a massive counter-attack. This could be true if we believe government spokesman Musa Ibrahim who claims there are 65,000 professional soldiers waiting to repel “NATO’s rebels” from entering Tripoli, Mr. Lamb said.

The information could be accurate indeed, with BBC reports arguing that the languishing Libyan rebels have already left Tripoli and other sources saying Gaddafi troops are moving along the city streets. Here we have an opinion from director of the International Institute of Political Expertise Yevgeny Minchenko.

"We have encountered an explicitly mendacious group of world media, reporting facts that were never confirmed. Obviously, this is not a mistake but a planned blatant disinformation attempt. As far as I understand, Tripoli is currently under Gaddafi control. It appears that there has been an initially successful operation by the NATO task force. Its failure may be used as an argument for bringing heavy armaments to Libya and carrying out a full-scale military operation. This does not look very nice and inflicts a severe blow to both the Middle East stability and NATO countries’ reputation," Yevgeny Minchenko pointed out.

The political analyst’s point of view is confirmed by a statement coming from Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, who said the rebel ranks include military advisers of the leading Western powers, as well as private protection agencies. There is only one question left in this context: how far is NATO ready to go in its desire to “liberate” Libya from Gaddafi?

[Source: The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 24Aug11]

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Libya War
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