DEBKAfile Special Report October 21, 2011, 4:47 PM (GMT+02:00)
Once the fact of Muammar Qaddafi's abrupt demise on Thursday, Oct. 20, is absorbed, Libya will be left with the same power struggle between pro- and anti-Qaddafi loyalists as before - with the added horror of blood revenge pursued by his clan and tribal allies.
Until proved otherwise, Saif al Islam and his siblings are still around. Their own Qadhafah tribe and its allies, the Warfalla, Al-Awaqir and Magariha, will not rest until they avenge their leader's death. Furthermore, those tribes remain as hostile as ever to rule over their territory by the National Transitional Council and the tribes of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya which the NTC represents.
If the interim government had demonstrated any ability to rule a nation and bring a measure of unity to its disparate parts, the National Transitional Council might have stood a chance of bringing them together for national reconciliation. To the contrary, however, the NTC has displayed no competence as a governing body and is sundered by endless squabbling among the rebel militias controlling Tripoli, the armed groups of Western Libya and the Islamist militias, including the Muslim Brotherhood and elements close to Al Qaeda, which control parts of Tripoli and Eastern Libya.
Therefore, Qaddafi's demise will probably achieve not much more than an opportunity for NATO to end its military intervention in Libya and pull out ahead of the upsurge of bloody conflicts unleashed Thursday.
It is now clear that Muammar Qaddafi, who ruled Libya for 42 years until his overthrow on Aug. 23 by NATO-backed rebels, was wounded but alive when he reached rebel hands. He was later killed by a shot to the head. But the circumstances leading up to his last moments are disputed.
debkafile's military sources report mounting indications that a NATO special forces unit – although of which nation is unknown – located and captured Muammar Qaddafi in the Sirte area.
They aparently shot him in both legs to prevent his escape and informed a Misrata militia of his whereabouts, knowing they would kill him in view of the town's long reckoning with the former Libyan ruler. NATO was guided by two considerations: First not to comprise the presence of ground troops in the battle zone in breach of the alliance's UN mandate; and second, to give the Libyan rebels a psychological victory – especially after they failed in battle to capture Qaddafi's home town of Sirte.
It was also important for his death to be laid at the door of his own people, not NATO.
Western alliance leaders figured that as long as Qaddafi was alive and at liberty, the interim government had no chance of establishing its legitimacy and a stable administration and calling an end to the war.
His death enables NATO to draw a line on its Libyan venture – but not the war.
Later Friday, NATO issued a statement saying it was not aware Qaddafi was in a convoy heading out of Sirte when it was targeted by alliance warplanes Thursday morning. Note was taken of 75 vehicles leaving the city at high speed and 11 were attacked, destroying one of them.
After that, 20 vehicles broke away form the convoy and kept moving south, "continuing to pose a significant threat," said the Brussels statement.
A second air strike damaged or destroyed 10 of the vehicles. Only later, did NATO discover that Qaddafi was in the convoy and "the strike likely contributed to his capture."
debkafile notes that this statement absolves the Western alliance of responsibility for killing Qaddafi.
The UN office for human rights has called for an investigation of his death since video footage after the air strike showed him bloodied but still alive.