Pro-Gaddafi fighters have been given an ultimatum by Libya’s new interim council to surrender.. or face the consequences.
Gaddafi’s fighters have until Saturday to surrender or the new National Transitional Council (NTC) will start to attack. Vicious street fighting is something that they want to avoid if at all possible but they say time is running out.
The ultimatum is mainly aimed at Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte where he still has strong support and is one of a few possible hiding places for him.
Algeria Shelters Gaddafi Family
The NTC also called the actions of neighbouring Algeria an “act of aggression” after the country took in Gaddafi’s wife and 3 of his children.
Algeria defended their actions saying that it was their highest responsibility to offer shelter to anyone who needed it in the desert. It is thought that Gaddafi’s daughter, Aisha Gaddafi, gave birth to a daughter shortly after arriving in the country.
The ultimatum comes on the back of a quick, and relatively easy victory for the anti-Gaddafi forces in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. I say easy, but it is still war. Bloody, terrorising, morally ambiguous, painful for anyone involved and many who aren’t.
Small pockets of resistance still exist in Tripoli and there are problems with infrastructure, supplies and perhaps most important for a new Libya, a local power vacuum.
But the collapse of Tripoli was almost immediate after forces entered the city. A combination of NATO air power, pre-negotiated ceasefires, the arming of underground groups and good tactics (all areas that were in all likelihood, heavily assisted by western special forces) seems to have worked well for the anti-Gaddafi troops.
Libya & NATO
It would be a surprise if the Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte fell quite so quickly though. One also wonders about the role of NATO.
If the anti-Gaddafi forces start pounding the city, cutting it’s supplies and starting an assault, do NATO jets support them or attack them in their UN backed mandate to protect civilians in Libya?
Perhaps it should be the second if you interpret the UN resolution literally but of course, this is international politics.
Many countries, including Russia, have long argued that western countries and NATO have used the UN mandate and corrupted it, pushing a different agenda entirely and it is hard not to sympathise with this view.
However, no one is complaining too hard. Gaddafi doesn’t seem to have any friends left, even staunch ally Zimbabwe expelled his ambassador this week. The South American country Venezuela and some sympathetic African countries are perhaps his only allies now.
Libya, Gaddafi & Mass Graves
The recent uncovering of mass graves has highlighted what kind of regime Gaddafi ran, so far 4 mass graves have been discovered in various parts of Libya. One was found behind the barracks of the army brigade run by Gaddafi’s son, Khamis.
Survivors say that the bodies found there were mainly civilians, although some were Gaddafi solders presumably put there for not following orders. All were massacred in cold blood during the dying days of the Tripoli government.
The NTC estimates that up to 60,000 people were arrested by Gaddafi’s regime since the uprising began, around 16% of that number have been accounted for. The question that keeps coming up is, where are the rest?
It seems even when the fighting stops the wounds of a country torn will be deep.