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Analyst: Libyan Regime Recovering from Initial Protests

  • Peter Clottey

Defected Libyan soldiers and volunteers load weapons onto a truck on the outskirts of the eastern town of Brega, Libya, Thursday, March 3, 2011. Mutinous army units in pickup trucks armed with machine-guns and rocket launchers deployed around the strategi

Defected Libyan soldiers and volunteers load weapons onto a truck on the outskirts of the eastern town of Brega, Libya, Thursday, March 3, 2011. Mutinous army units in pickup trucks armed with machine-guns and rocket launchers deployed around the strategi

A former diplomat and interpreter for Libya’s embattled President Moammar Gadhafi expresses concern that the Libyan regime is regrouping from the early shock of anti-government protests that, in his words, made regime members act in ridiculous and unpredictable ways.

Abubaker Saad, professor of history and non-Western cultures at Western Connecticut State University in the United States, says it is unlikely that Gadhafi will adhere to demands by President Barack Obama and the rest of the international community to step down and cede power.

“From the events that I have seen so far, he does not intend to step down at all. The Libyan government spokesman was just repeating the same things that Gadhafi was saying more politely because he is a diplomat and he was using a softer language. That actually began to disturb me,” said Saad.

“It gave me another indication, which is that Gadhafi and his regime are beginning to recover from the shock of the early protest. That actually shook them in the sense that they were acting irrational and erratic. Now, what I see is a regime that’s regrouping, and they are doing a better job at regrouping, and that is why they have begun using the international media.”

Saad also warns that Gadhafi’s regime has the ability to retake the areas under the control of anti-government protesters.

“He has more elite forces than the opposition. The opposition has really meager power. If he decides to re-invade these areas, he has the power to do it because he has the airplanes; they don’t have a single plane. He is much superior to them since he also has the air force.”

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says he is launching an investigation against Gadhafi, his key aides and some of his sons.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Thursday that he will probe allegations of crimes against humanity in Libya's violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Saad says senior members of the Libyan regime should also be investigated for human rights abuses for the more than four decades of Gadhafi’s rule.

“They have to be investigated, too, because, if they were not the instigators of the action (killings), they will tell us who gave them the orders. If it is Gadhafi’s sons, or Gaddafi himself, or some other high officials who actually instructed them to do or commit this particular atrocity, basically, the ICC is going to try to get to the source of it. Who is responsible for all of these deaths?” said Saad.

Meanwhile, Libyan warplanes launched new air strikes Thursday against the key eastern oil port of Brega, a day after rebels drove Gadhafi forces from the city.

Witnesses say the strikes targeted Brega's airport near the oil terminal. Oil officials say Libyan oil production has been “halved” due to the nationwide unrest.

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