Monday, March 7, 2011

Gadhafi could wage protracted civil war: Analysts say Libya’s opposition too weak

Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s well-equipped but poorly trained security forces can wage a protracted battle against rebel fighters, allowing the beleaguered Libyan leader to cling to power for months, according to analysts and former Libyan officials.

“If things go the way they are, I think he could last for more than a month, a few months. That would be disastrous for the rest of Libya,” said Mohamed Yousef Al-Megariaf, a critic of the regime who quit his post as Libya’s ambassador to India in 1980.

“The reason he is hanging on is not because he is popular, but because of the number of troops who belong to his tribe, the volume of his weapons and his willingness to inflict an unimaginable degree of suffering on the Libyan people,” he added.

James Phillips, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said he fears that the regime could hold out for years, at least in a defensive manner.

“It appears that the opposition forces are too weak to liberate Tripoli and other strongholds of support for Gadhafi,” Mr. Phillips said. “We may be headed into a prolonged civil-war-type situation.” (read more)