Thursday, February 24, 2011

Carnage Continues In Libya as Khadafi Hangs On

The carnage continues in Libya as Mumar Khadafi barely manages to hold on to power by any means necessary. That includes the use of mercenaries and a small cadre of loyalists, but those numbers are going to be insufficient to do anything more than delay the inevitable and to rack up a body count.

So, where exactly did Khadafi get a hold of these mercenaries? Well, it helps when Khadafi has been bankrolling thugs and dictators across Africa, and is able to get some payback, along with tapping a bloc of thugs who are looking for work.
Al Jazeera has reported that advertisements have been appearing in Guinea and Nigeria offering would-be mercenaries up to $2,000 to come to Qaddafi's aid. The reports are vague so far, but if the Libyan strongman has indeed been shopping for mercenaries, West Africa would be a good place to start. Recent conflicts in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast have generated a steady supply of unemployed ex-fighters willing to move from conflict to conflict for the right price. Foreign mercenaries, often paid in diamonds, kept Sierra Leone's brutal civil war going for years. U.N. peacekeepers have reported that the electorally ousted but defiant Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has brought in mercenaries from Liberia to aid him in his conflict against internationally recognized President Alassane Ouattara.

Libyan money has helped prop up a number of unstable African regimes in recent years -- for example, Qaddafi was a longtime, enthusiastic backer of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, now on trial in The Hague for war crimes -- so it makes sense that Libyan officials would have connections in the region. As of yet, there's no reliable reporting of how or when the mercenaries there, but some Libyan activists believe that they may have been housed at training camps in southern Libya for months, anticipating an uprising.

Following tomorrow's prayers, expect that the situation in Tripoli to get a whole lot more dangerous as there are rumblings of renewed protests in the last redoubt for Khafadi and his supporters all while Khadafi's forces are being hemmed in on all sides.

A last gasp desperate measures could seriously inflate the body count, particularly if Khadafi decides to unleash some measure of his chemical weapons stocks. I don't think he'd go that route, but a bloody outcome is all but assured.

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