Gadhafi Offers ‘Amnesty’ to Army Defectors

Fighting Continues in Ajdabiyah

In a move that appears aimed at harming the morale of the rebel forces, Libyan state TV today announced that the Gadhafi regime is offering full amnesty to all defectors who return to his side.

The statement insisted that the “deceived soldiers” would have to return “showing regret and hand over his weapon” for the amnesty. Large numbers of soldiers from eastern Libya defected when the regime cracked down on protesters.

Bolstered by the defectors, the rebels quickly took much of the nation, but a counter-offensive by the regime has reversed much of their gains. The two sides are still fighting over the town of Abdabiyah, the last major town in the east before the capital city of the rebel forces, Benghazi.

At present it is unclear how much of Libya’s army actually defected, but virtually the entire military leadership of the rebel faction is made up of such defectors, bolstered mostly by inexperienced fighters who were part of the protest movement.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.