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Eye On The World: Glenn Williams & Selwyn Manning On Libya

Radio Wammo: Eye On The World – With Glenn Williams & Selwyn Manning

Glenn Williams hosts Eye On The World, a weekly look at foreign affairs with Scoop's Selwyn Manning. This week: Gaddafi's Libya Falls – Rebel Forces Sweep Into Tripoli

RUN-SHEET Eye On The World – August 24 2011.

It is a scene of chaos in Libya. While the Nato backed rebel forces have stormed westward and now occupy much of Tripoli, and have taken Gaddafi's compound... the measure of resistance from pro-Gaddafi loyalists is yet to be known.

The whereabouts of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is unclear. Rumours are rife in North Africa that he has fled Libya for Algeria. Others say he is in a secret location inside Libya waiting for his loyalists to retake pockets of the capital city.

And Gaddafi's son, Saif Al-Islam, was believed to have been captured by rebels and handed over to the International Criminal Court where he would be tried for crimes against humanity. The ICC issued a statement saying Saif was in custody.

But then Tuesday afternoon New Zealand time, Saif appeared on Libya's streets, flanked by loyalist guards and declared his father's regime was not lost to the Rebel uprising nor the Civil War.

Some reports suggest Saif was captured and was held in custody, but later escaped, receiving help from pro-Gaddafi loyalists who have infiltrated rebel groups.

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Certainly, NATO airstrikes paved the way for the Rebel forces to sweep into Tripoli. The RAF stuck against Gaddafi's control centres and facilities throughout the weekend, and British forces had equipped Rebel soldiers with night-vision goggles. This assisted the Rebels to locate and destroy Gaddafi loyalist snipers as they advanced on the city.

By the time the Rebels reached the outskirts of Tripoli, resistence was ebbing.

And overnight NZ time, the Rebel Forces took control of Gaddafi's compound.

    [Sky News reports from the compound's parameter]
    0:00 to 0:27

Britain is now preparing to send in a stabilising team to assist the Transitional National Council or TNC to control the country.

Some news reports suggest British and United States intelligence operatives have infiltrated media groups inside Tripoli. This has yet to be substantiated.

As we reported on this programme two months ago, intercepted air traffic control communications had shown the Rebel forces were not alone on the ground. Intelligence officers and special forces personal were inside Libya assisting, from a centralised position, the Transitional National Council (TNC) to implement battle plans that would knock out Gaddafi's forces.

Yesterday, the UK newspaper The Telegraph reported that “MI6 officers based in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi had honed battle plans drawn up by Libya’s TNC which were agreed 10 weeks ago”.

The United States President Barack Obama said: “The Libyan intervention demonstrates what the international community can achieve when we stand together as one."

But confusion also circulates geopolitically. NATO nations have invested millions in supporting the uprising in Libya. But will NATO be able to work with the TNC leadership to ensure a stable and progressive Libya emerges from the rubble?

NATO nations will not wish to occupy Libya's oil fields but they will want pay-back, they will want to control Libya's oil.

Already, with news that Tripoli has fallen out of Gaddafi's control, the price of oil dropped on the world markets. That in turn caused a positive ripple throughout the globe's fragile financial markets.

The west will move to ensure it controls this oil reserve.

But one cannot help but compare this phase to that of post-invasion Iraq. Will Libya fragment into a nation where ideologies wage war?

And as we can see manifesting inside Egypt, when a strong dictator falls, a power-void is left, and chaos emerges.

Such an environment breeds sectarianism and strife.

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It is essentially impossible to predict what lies in store for Libya. Will the TNC be able to hold Libya without international forces occupying the country?

Will the United Nations require an international peacekeeping force inside Libya to ensure factions of Libya's society, factions that support the Gaddafi regime, are not able to regain pockets of control in the country?

And confusion remains as to who holds the real power inside the TNC.

Obama yesterday called on the rebel leadership to work toward a transition that "is peaceful, inclusive and just."

Where will this conflict go from here? Only time will tell.

ENDS

Eye On The World broadcasts on KiwiFM and Radio Wammo at 7:40am on Tuesdays. Video on demand episodes also webcast on Scoop.co.nz.

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