22 August 2011
Quilliam is receiving reports from our contacts among the Libyan people’s leadership that a huge counter-offensive has been launched by Pro-Gaddafi forces in Tripoli. Despite the rebels having control of about 90% of the capital this counter-offensive has lead to a great deal of bloodshed in Bab al-Azizia, Colonel Gaddafi’s compound and where he is suspected to be hiding. It has been reported that any rebels being caught by Gaddafi loyalists are being executed, and we have been made aware specifically of at least two major set-backs to the recent rebel successes in Tripoli. Quilliam is receiving credible news that Gaddafi’s eldest son Mohammed, previously held prisoner by rebel forces, has been freed by Gaddafi loyalists. The status of Gaddafi’s other son, Saif, remains ambiguous at best. A few large and strong Western tribes have thrown their lot in behind Gaddafi and have joined in this counter-offensive. This increases the risk of escalation to a tribal war.
We urge the International Community despite the bloodshed that may ensue during this counter-offensive to persevere. Removing Gaddafi is the only viable solution.
We urge NATO forces under UN Resolution 1973 to neutralise the Bab al-Azizia compound, without which many more innocent lives will be lost and a tribal civil war is much more likely.
The National Transitional Council (NTC), must be strengthened by the international community and deserves our support and encouragement for working under such stressful circumstances. They are maintaining a very loose coalition of groups and forces against Gaddafi, and are managing a complicated weave of forces, among them Islamists. The presence of Islamists has been mentioned by Quilliam in a previous briefing here.
Quilliam Senior Analyst Noman Benotman said:
“We appreciate how difficult maintaining such a coalition must be for the NTC. We support and encourage their efforts and implore the international community to help the NTC to establish security and stability in the capital. We urge the British Prime Minister to urgently consider releasing the Libyan Dinars currently held by Britain in order to strengthen the NTC.”