British defense chief says Libyan rebels can’t win

Two days after the news that the Libyan rebels’ military commander had been assassinated, triggering further conflicts within the rebel faction, comes this report from The Independent:

Libyan rebels can’t win, Fox admits, so we need a traitor in Gaddafi’s circle
Monday, 1 August 2011

Liam Fox [the British secretary of state for defence] conceded yesterday that Libyan rebels were unlikely to muster the forces to topple Muammar Gaddafi, and the Defence Secretary admitted that the best chance of ousting him was a palace coup.

Mr Fox’s striking change of emphasis came more than four months after Britain, France and the US began bombing raids on Colonel Gaddafi’s troops in an effort to protect rebels in the east of the country. Yet Colonel Gaddafi shows no sign of relinquishing power and a military stalemate appears to be developing. [LA replies: Of course U.S. Defense Secretary Gates said four months ago that the attempt to overthrow Kaddafi would turn into a stalemate.] Mr Fox, who flew to Washington yesterday to discuss the operation told BBC Radio 4: “The key for the Libyan resolution will be whether or not the close circle around Colonel Gaddafi realise there’s no point in investing in him: he’s a busted flush, he will sooner or later have to leave power. When the penny drops with them that that’s inevitable, then you’re likely to see the sort of change, the political momentum, that we’ve been looking for.” [In other words, Kaddafi may be a useless failure (which is the definition of “busted flush” that I find), but “our” side can’t defeat him, and “we” have to wait for him to decide on his own to leave power. Perhaps the U.S., France, and Britain might have had that profound insight into Libyan political reality before launching a war against the government of a Muslim country that had done absolutely nothing against “us.”]

Clashes between rival factions of the Libyan rebels killed four people yesterday in the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, deepening the worst crisis so far for the movement after its chief military commander was killed, possibly by fighters from his own side.

One group of rebels overran the base of a faction suspected of breaking pro-Gaddafi fighters out of a prison, the rebel Information Minister, Mahmoud Shammam, said.

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James P. writes:

“The rebels can’t win” is exactly what you’d say if you wanted to prevent a coup, and to have everyone rally around Gaddafi. Why would Gaddafi’s inner circle betray him if his external enemies admit that his internal enemies can’t beat him? In fact, the “political momentum” is now with Gaddafi and the rebels are the “busted flush.” Therefore we should expect Gaddafi’s inner circle to increase their investment in him rather than decreasing it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 01, 2011 10:12 AM | Send

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