News / Africa

Analyst: Gadhafi’s Diplomatic Efforts Failing

Rebels run for cover during clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces between Ras Lanuf and Ben Jawad, March 9, 2011
Rebels run for cover during clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces between Ras Lanuf and Ben Jawad, March 9, 2011

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  • Clottey interview with Ali Tarhouni, a Benghazi-based Libyan political activist

Peter Clottey

A Benghazi-based Libyan political activist says embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi’s diplomatic efforts will amount to nothing saying Gadhafi has lost legitimacy to rule the country after what he described as his four-decade long repressive dictatorship.

Ali Tarhouni says the anti-government movement will continue to put pressure on the Gadhafi regime despite recent setbacks and as a 72-hour ultimatum elapses Thursday.

“The legitimacy of the Gadhafi regime is gone for all practical purposes, from the Arab League to the European Union and the United Nations. Basically, he doesn’t have the legitimacy as a statesman such that his [diplomatic] offense, trying to cultivate something that will shore up his failing regime, is quite a failure,” said Tarhouni.

“Most of these European countries already took a stand that he is committing crimes and that he is massacring his people. So, I’m not really sure that there are many ears that are willing to listen to whatever Gadhafi wants to say,” he added.

This came amid reports that Gadhafi sent emissaries to meet senior officials in Europe, a move seen by some analysts as a diplomatic offense against anti-government protesters who demand the embattled leader step down and cede power.

Tarhouni says Gadhafi seems to be fighting a losing battle.

“What is next after the ultimatum is that the revolution is still continuing. I’m pretty sure that, given everything that we will see, [we’ll see] more victories on the ground for the revolutionists and the young people. And so, I’m not sure that he has a lot of options. Think about where he is at now; his last stand is basically Tripoli,” said Tarhouni.

“He is negotiating for a safe haven for him and his kids even though he claims that he’s not; I know for a fact that he is. So, this is basically from the camp of the Revolutionary Council, we are concerned with [violence] if he doesn’t leave and that is why the Council gave him that [ultimatum]. I’m not really sure that he is wise enough, he has never been. So, if he doesn’t leave, he will be living on less favorable terms,” he added.

Libyan rebels say government forces attacked a major oil facility in the rebel-held eastern town of Ras Lanuf Wednesday, the front line of opposition forces.

The rebels say Libyan warplanes bombed an oil storage depot in the Sidr facility, while government artillery struck a pipeline supplying the complex Wednesday causing a fire and sending huge plumes of smoke into the sky. Gadhafi forces also shelled rebel positions west of Ras Lanuf forcing some rebels to retreat, while others fought back.

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