Facing Unrest, Libya’s NTC Raises Specter of Gadhafi

In comments today, Libya’s acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jabril claimed former dictator Moammar Gadhafi was hiding in the southern deserts, while also being active in several neighboring countries recruiting mercenaries for some sort of extremely improbable comeback campaign.

The comments aren’t just random fear-mongering for its own sake, but rather a very concerted effort by the National Transitional Council leadership to keep their followers from expressing their discontent with the new regime too openly, by claiming that the old regime is still lurking out there, somewhere in the desert, with enormous numbers of black mercenaries waiting to reconquer the nation. The strategy is similar to the one used by Iraq’s assorted political rulers, which constantly raise the specter of a Ba’athist regime returning when questioned.

And the questioning is growing louder lately, with growing numbers of wounded fighters dying in overcrowded hospitals of easily treated injuries. The hospitals are increasingly staffed with volunteers and medical students, and supplies are growing short.

This is in spite of reports that massive amounts of the old regime’s assets have been made available to the NTC, and while the NTC denies the charge there is growing speculation that they are sitting on the money rather than spending it on medical care for the various rebel fighters who are increasingly unnecessary in the wake of the last civil war, and which might be potential enemies when the next civil war flares up.


Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.