Kaddafi’s men—even his own tribesmen—are deserting him

Yesterday it was reported that Kaddafi’s forces had failed to repel rebels from cities near Tripoli, and this was seen as the biggest blow yet to his chances of survival. Today comes this from the Telegraph:

Gaddafi’s empire crumbles as his inner circle abandon him

From the desert sands of North Africa to the diplomatic salons of New York, the pillars of Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship crumbled as rapidly as rebels advanced across Libya last week.

The most dramatic display of dissent came from two air force pilots who bailed out of their fighter bomber after being dispatched from Tripoli with “scorched earth” orders to attack oilfields in areas seized by the opposition.

The two officers parachuted safely out of their Russian-made Sukhoi Su-22 attack aircraft before it crashed into empty land near the city of Aidabiya, 100 miles south-west of Benghazi, on Wednesday.

Illustrating just why Gaddafi had been so keen to bomb Libya’s energy facilities before they fell into enemy hands, rebels and defecting soldiers later announced they had taken control of the region’s oilfields and terminals.

Significantly, one of the pilots was later named by a pro-opposition newspaper as Ali Omar Gaddafi—a stark indication that even members of the besieged leader’s own tribe were turning against him.

Their refusal to follow orders came two days after two other fighter pilots took off from Tripoli tasked with attacking unarmed protesters in Benghazi, but instead flew their jets to nearby Malta and claimed asylum.

No one here likes Kaddafi, but if he falls, who will replace him? Al Qaeda has been mentioned several times as playing a prominent role in the rebellion. Kaddafi himself said that the rebellion is led by Osama bin Laden. Is this the outcome the West is cheering? Is this the outcome President Obama is facilitating by punishing Kaddafi for fighting against rebels in his own country?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 26, 2011 03:04 PM | Send

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