Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Libya Fighting Continues; Khadafi Hints at Exit Strategy?

Fighting continues throughout Libya and airstrikes continue to pound rebel positions. Yet, there is a report that Mumar Khadafi is mulling an exit strategy.

He's willing to leave, if sufficiently bribed to do so. He wants immunity from prosecution and a pile of cash (on top of whatever billions he's squandered in oil money over the four decades of misguided rule):
Gaddafi allegedly sent Jadallah Azzouz Talhi, a former prime minister, to meet the rebels to work out the fine print of a deal.

The offer proposed that the dictator would hand over power to a committee formed by the General People’s Congress.

A source close to the rebel council said he had heard that ‘one formula being proposed by the other side would see Gaddafi hand power to the head of parliament and leave the country with a certain guaranteed sum of money’.

He added: ‘I was told that this issue of money is a serious obstacle from the national council’s point of view.’

But Essam Gheriani, a media officer for the council, said: ‘No such offer has been put to the council as far as I am aware.’

Talhi, a leading member of the ruling establishment in the 1980s, had earlier appealed to rebel leaders for dialogue in the clearest sign yet that Gaddafi may be ready to compromise with opponents challenging his grip on power.

The fact state television screened Talhi’s appeal indicated it was officially endorsed.

But the council said there was no room for broad dialogue with Gaddafi and any talks must be on the basis that he quits.

Asked about Talhi’s address, rebel official Ahmed Jabreel said: ‘Talhi is a close acquaintance of mine and he is widely respected in Libya as a man who stood up to Gaddafi.
Other reports indicate that Khadafi wants out, but the rebel groups are refusing to make any deal that allows Khadafi to avoid justice.

According to the BBC:
1358: Libyan rebels have asked Col Gaddafi to "stop the aerial bombing and leave within 72 hours" in order to consider any deal, National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil tells al-Jazeera. In return they guarantee that the leader would not be "legally pursued on the domestic front".

Khadafi's response has been to renew air attacks against Ras Lanuf. Khadafi clearly has no intention of leaving quietly.

With the airstrikes continuing, NATO is mulling its options, including a no-fly zone. A no-fly zone would give the rebel groups an advantage over their current situation, but politicians in Europe and the US are concerned about getting involved in such a fashion. Yet, despite the advantages offered by the airstrikes, the Khadafi loyalists are having a hard time advancing or holding on to territory. Indeed, the rebel groups, poorly trained and disciplined, are managing to hold their own against the Libyan regime.

Elsewhere, Al Jazeera released a video purporting to show men who were executed for refusing to fire on the rebels:

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