Publishers: Qingfeng Browse: Release time:2012-01-24 Print this page
But no one could explain how they envisioned forcing Colonel Qaddafi from power, given that the rebels appear incapable of defeating his militia and the Western powers have said they would not use military power to oust him directly.
BREGA, Libya — Libya’s foreign minister defected to Britain on Wednesday, dealing a blow to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government even as his forces pushed rebels into a panicked retreat and seized valuable towns they ceded just days ago under allied airstrikes.
The government advance appeared to return control of eastern Libya’s most important oil regions to Colonel Qaddafi’s forces, giving the isolated government, at least for the day, the east’s most valuable economic prize. The rout also put into sharp relief the rebels’ absence of discipline and tactical sense, confronting the United States with a conundrum: how to persuade Colonel Qaddafi to step down while supporting a rebel force that has been unable to hold on to military gains.
But the defection of Moussa Koussa, the foreign minister, showed that at least one longtime confidant seemed to be calculating that Colonel Qaddafi could not last. The news of Mr. Koussa’s defection sent shockwaves through Tripoli on Wednesday night after it was announced by the British government. Mr. Koussa had been a pillar of his government since the early days of the revolution, and previously led the fearsome intelligence unit.
Although American officials suspected him of responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Mr. Koussa also played a major role in turning over nuclear equipment and designs to the United States and in negotiating Libya back into the good graces of Western governments.
Presumably, he is now in a position to talk about the structure of Mr. Qaddafi’s remaining forces and loyalists. What is unclear is whether his defection will lead to others. “We think he could be the beginning of a stream of Libyans who think sticking with Qaddafi is a losing game,” one senior American official said. “But we don’t know.”
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