News / Africa

US Intelligence Chief: Gadhafi Likely to Defeat Rebels

A rebel fighter fires a rocket-propelled grenade in front of a gas storage terminal during a battle on the road between Ras Lanuf and Bin Jiwad, Mar 9 2011
A rebel fighter fires a rocket-propelled grenade in front of a gas storage terminal during a battle on the road between Ras Lanuf and Bin Jiwad, Mar 9 2011

The top U.S. intelligence official says Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi will likely be able to withstand efforts by anti-government rebels to topple him. The director of national intelligence said Thursday that Mr. Gadhafi has no intention of leaving.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that, given the advantage of superior troops and weapons, Moammar Gadhafi will likely defeat the rebels who are trying to oust him.

"They're [i.e., Libyan armed forces] the most robustly equipped, with Russian equipment that includes air defense, artillery, tanks, mechanized equipment. And they appear to be much more disciplined about how they treat and repair that equipment," said Clapper. "So I just think from a standpoint of attrition that over time, I mean this kind of a stalemate back and forth, but I think that over the longer term that the regime will prevail."

Appearing before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Clapper dismissed the notion that Mr. Gadhafi is ready to step down or come to an agreement with the rebels.

James R. Clapper, Jr., Director of National Intelligence, testifies on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Services committee hearing on current and future worldwide threats to U.S. national security, March 10 2011
James R. Clapper, Jr., Director of National Intelligence, testifies on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Services committee hearing on current and future worldwide threats to U.S. national security, March 10 2011

"We believe that Gadhafi is in this for the long haul. I don't think he has any intention, despite some of the press speculation to the contrary, of leaving.  From all evidence that we have, which I'd be prepared to discuss in closed session, he appears to be hunkering down for the duration," Clapper said.

Army Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, agreed with Clapper’s assessment, saying that Moammar Gadhafi has “staying power.” He said the rebels had the initial advantage, but that attrition is taking its toll.

"I think the press had it about right in terms of initially the momentum was with the other side. That has started to shif," said Burgess. "Whether or not it has fully moved to Gadhafi's side at this time in country, I think, is not clear at this time. But we have now reached a state of equilibrium where the initiative, if you will, may actually be on the regime side at this time. But we're watching that in these days right now."

According to an assessment by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the rebels are disorganized, lack sufficient training and are equipped primarily with small arms such as automatic rifles, machine guns and anti-aircraft guns mounted on pickup trucks.

Clapper told the Senate committee that the rebels are at the mercy of Libyan aircraft, but he added that rebel casualties from planes and helicopters have not been great.

The two intelligence officers faced questioning from senators who want the Obama administration to take action to help the rebels, such as setting a no-fly zone and granting some form of diplomatic recognition for the rebels’ self-styled interim government.

But Clapper said that setting up a no-fly zone is not a simple task. He called the threat from Libya's air defense system “substantial,” noting that Libya has ground radar protecting coastal areas, where some 80 percent of the population lives, with about 30 major surface-to-air missile sites as well as portable surface-to-air missiles.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid