A simple Information Operations procedure may have been used to tip the balance in favor of Libya’s rebel forces in Tripoli:
Offering a clue as to why the capital, Tripoli, may have fallen as quickly as it did, rebel fighters here said that as soon as word came that Colonel Qaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam had been captured in Tripoli (even though he apparently had not), the loyalist forces defending the town and its refinery simply gave up and fled.
“They don’t want to fight us anymore,” said Mohammed Abdul Aziz Saeed, a rebel from the elite Ali Hassan al-Jaber Brigade, in the forefront of the fighting.
I wonder how any brigade – even one named after an al-Jazeera journalist – gets to be “elite” after a seven month civil war.
The killing and dying there may not be over, as loyalist holdouts, victorious rebels and competing clans vie for power in the new Libyan order:
Amnesty International said Friday that it had evidence that forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi had killed rebels who had been held in custody in two camps. In one camp, it said, guards killed five detainees held in solitary confinement, and in another they opened the gates, telling the rebels they were free to go, then tossed grenades and fired on the men as they tried to run for freedom.
The report, based on accounts from escaped prisoners, cited no death toll, but said that of the 160 detainees attacked, only 23 were known to have escaped.
On Thursday, there were reports that the bullet-riddled bodies of more than 30 pro-Qaddafi fighters had been found at a military encampment in central Tripoli. At least two were bound with plastic handcuffs, suggesting that they had been executed, and five of the dead were found at a field hospital.
Qaddafi’s home village of Surt remains in loyalist hands, and even as the internecine killing goes on, and the rebel government asks for international aid. Meanwhile, outsiders with their own interests are circling the corpse of Gaddafi’s state:
In a setback for the rebel leadership, the African Union, meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, refused to recognize the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government of Libya and called instead for a government that includes Qaddafi-era officials, Reuters reported.
Over the years, Colonel Qaddafi has spread Libya’s oil wealth liberally among numerous African nations, winning the loyalty of their leaders, who fear they will not receive the same largess under a new, more democratic government.
Libyan Transitional National Council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil - he of the zabibah marked forehead - is deemed the rebellion’s indispensable man, and he had a laudable track record for agitating against the Gaddhafi government’s most egregious civil rights violations in the past. But he was also blamed for affirming the death penalty for six foreign medical workers in the infamous HIV trial of 1998. Abdul Jalil has gotten religion since then: In February he laid the blame solidly at the feet of the Gaddhafi government.
Thomas Jefferson could not be reached for comment.