…meanwhile, US and NATO allies vie over “kudos” for Qaddafi’s termination
Oct 24, 2011
Libya’s transitional leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil was quite clear about his intentions for liberated Libya Sunday, Oct. 23, when he addressed a crowd of tens of thousands in Benghazi celebrating Muammar Qaddafi’s death: “Libyan laws in future would have Sharia, the Islamic code, as its basic source,” he declared and promised to revoke the Qaddafi code which outlawed polygamy and restore the Islamic banking laws banning interest on loans. “Interest creates disease and hatred among people,” said Abdul-Jalil.
As he spoke, the Islamic law which requires immediate burial was flouted by Libyans still queuing up to view the bodies of the dead ruler and his son Mutassim lying in a Misrata cold meat store – four days after their deaths. The Misrata Brigade told the interim leaders: “Let all the people see him.” That was one act of defiance.
It was generally believed in Tripoli that the strongmen ruling the capital, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, ex-al Qaeda, and Ismail and Ali al-Sallabi, heads of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, only granted Abdul-Jalil’s wish for a big liberation rally in Benghazi after he agreed to declare the new Libya a Sharia state.
But after the grand celebration is over, DEBKAfile’s sources report, the transitional leader will be little more than a figurehead. Even now, Abdul-Jalil is confined in Benghazi by the three strongmen, who control most parts of the capital, and have not given him permission to move the seat of the interim government to Tripoli. Abdul-Jalil is only allowed to pop over to receiving visiting foreign dignitaries.
Working through NATO, US President Barack Obama, the UK’s David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy managed to finish off Qaddafi but are far from controlling the transition. The regime taking shape could not be further from the Western ideal of a free democracy. Behind the grisly images of Muammar Qaddafi’s last moments spilling out since Thursday, Oct. 20, a quiet contest is afoot between the US and at least two NATO allies, France and Germany, over who deserves the credit for his termination and therefore for ending the alliance’s military role in Libya.
American sources are willing to admit that US drones operated by pilots from Las Vegas pinpointed the fugitive ruler’s hideout in Sirte and kept the building under surveillance for two weeks, surrounded by US and British forces.
Both therefore had boots on the ground in breach of the UN mandate which limited NATO military intervention in Libya to air strikes.
Some of the accounts of his last days suggest that he abandoned the precautions which kept him safe for years and was not afraid to use the satellite and cell phones which gave his position away – almost as though he courted capture.
Other accounts describe his departure from Sirte Thursday morning in a convoy of 75 vehicles as “a suicidal flight.” According to the London Daily Telegraph, his presence in the convoy was first picked up by the USAF River Joint RC-135V/W intelligence signals plane, which passed the information to French warplanes overhead who then carried out the strike on Qaddafi’s vehicle.
The German Der Spiegel reported Monday, Oct. 24, that the tip revealing Qaddafi’s last hiding place came from German BND intelligence agents. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel was dead against German participation in the NATO operation in Libya, the BND nonetheless played an important role in intelligence-gathering.
It is increasingly obvious now that without the active intervention of the US, Britain, France and Germany, the anti-Qaddafi rebels on their own would never have beaten Qaddafi or been able to end his life. The way the Libyan episode unfolded up to its ending has two important messages for the Middle East and North Africa, say DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources:
1. The United States and its NATO allies have no compunctions about eradicating dictatorships one way or another. The opposition in Syria quickly picked up the message. Shortly after Qaddafi’s demise was confirmed, the protesters were out in the streets flying Libyan flags and warning Bashar Assad that he would soon share the same fate.
2. A primary objective of the Arab Spring as promoted by the United States and the Western Alliance is the substitution of those dictatorships by fundamental Muslim regimes whose leaders quite frankly usher Sharia law in to the liberated countries.