News / Africa

US Defense Officials Say Future ‘Not Bright’ for Gadhafi

A truck carrying Libyan rebel fighters drives towards the Zawiya oil refinery in Zawiyah, August 17, 2011
A truck carrying Libyan rebel fighters drives towards the Zawiya oil refinery in Zawiyah, August 17, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +
Sean Maroney

As Libyan rebels advance closer to the center of Moammar Gadhafi’s government in Tripoli, U.S. defense officials say the Libyan leader’s future prospects are looking dim.  

Libyan rebels and pro-government forces are fighting fierce battles in an oil refinery just 50 kilometers west of Libya’s capital Tripoli, as rebels report capturing towns elsewhere in the west and south.

Tripoli remains the seat of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s goverment  as the months-long popular uprising continues to seek his removal.

In his first briefing with Pentagon reporters, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s spokesman George Little said Wednesday that the indications on the ground show Mr. Gadhafi’s exit may come sooner rather than later. “If you put all of those things together, the future doesn’t look particularly bright for Gadhafi, but you know, we’ll have to see where things go.  The secretary said that Gadhafi’s days are numbered, but neither he nor I can put a precise number on how many days," he said.

In addition to the rebel advances, Little credited recent high-profile defections from the Gadhafi government, as well as sustained pressure from NATO operations and from economic and diplomatic sanctions, with contributing to what analysts expect will be Mr. Gadhafi’s eventual ouster.

Reza Jan is a Research Analyst for the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.

He tells VOA that he believes the rebels reaching Tripoli will just be the beginning for the next violent phase in the Libyan crisis. “They’ve made some astonishing advances in the last few days, but it really remains to be seen what happens once they get closer to Tripoli because the fight is far from over," he said.

Jan says that based on intelligence from the capital, there still is a lot of support for Mr. Gadhafi in the city.  He says this will most likely lead to bloody battles in the streets of Tripoli.

He also says that despite the months-long NATO campaign against Mr. Gadhafi’s government, there does not seem to be a breakdown among his military forces.

There also does not seem to be a clear path to peace through diplomacy.  On Tuesday, the rebels dismissed reports that they held talks with aides to Colonel Gadhafi.

Jan says that at this stage, this does not surprise him. “If Gadhafi were to make a deal, I don’t think he would do it until he was absolutely sure that victory was impossible or that survival was impossible.  And I don’t think that’s necessarily the case yet," he said.

But he does think the situation is moving in the right direction for talks. “It’s coming close.  I mean, we’ve been approaching that point for some time now.  It’s been much slower than any of us I think would have appreciated or would have desired. It’s difficult to say exactly how long it’s going to take to get there," he said.

As they moved in from the west late last week, rebel fighters made their closest approach to the capital since the early weeks of the uprising.

If Libyan rebels are successful in cutting off Tripoli from the western part of the country, it would remove one of the few sources of fuel for Mr. Gadhafi’s troops and people in the capital.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid