Thursday, February 24, 2011

LIBYA - Qadhafi play overtime with his mercenaries

The revolt Jamahiriya drowned in a bloodbath. The "system of masses," the Libyan, draws on the people who demanded his downfall. For every protester shot dead, a premium of 10 000 to 12 000 dollars [from 7 300 to 8 800 euros] is promised. To read the testimony that run on social networks, the men responsible for the suppression by Muammar Gaddafi have nothing to do with the "dogs of war", these romantic figures immortalized by British novelist Frederick Forsyth.

[The Dogs of War tells a coup attempt led by mercenaries in a fictional African country.] They are mercenaries in the broadest sense of the repulsive term, desperate with no other mission than to defend the chair of Libyan dictator. There are about 30,000, according to estimates by the NGO Human Rights Solidarity, mostly from Chad, Mauritania, Nigeria, Algeria and Central African countries, but also Libyan tribes remained faithful to the Green Paper [the political manifesto of Muammar Gaddafi].

Others come from Europe, most likely in the Balkans. These Serbs, already used to structure the military "popular committees" faithful to the Gaddafi regime and nostalgic, no doubt, when they could "play" within the Chetnik paramilitary groups, which can mix be willing to enlist a few Bosnians in the name of Islamic solidarity.

The presence of Germans, members of the commando instructors responsible for training elite troops set up in 2006 under the leadership of a former noncommissioned officer of the GSG 9 special forces [a unit of intervention German police formed as a result of the taking of hostages at the Munich Olympics in 1972, equivalent to the French GIGN] is not excluded.

No Italian, however. According to General Franco Angioni, even former members of special forces that are competing for oil companies from North Africa to the security of their infrastructure, have not been tempted by the petrodollars of the Colonel. Too old grudges, too many cultural distance to be willing to work with Tripoli.

The armed forces of the Libyan are considered warm, almost passive men rallied to the Libyan regime would be reached in four planes left Benghazi Benin. According to testimonies collected by the station Al-Arabiya, they are mostly black, do not speak Arabic and only speak in French. Demonstrating the limits of their military skills, some were captured by the protesters.

The same source reports that they have quietly acknowledged to have been committed by Khamis al-Gaddafi, a son of Colonel Gaddafi, and received orders to fire on the crowd. Is the attitude of the Libyan armed forces, considered warm, almost passive, which made necessary the intervention of mercenaries, analysts believe that many members want to impose a separation of powers to Gaddafi and his clan, and especially liberate themselves from the direct control of the family.

Accusations of corruption, launched last week by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi against the armed forces through the agency Libya Press, is another sign of tensions between the army and the regime. Colonel Gaddafi could count with certainty, however, the police, supported by revolutionary committees headed by Ahmed Ibrahim, a cousin of the dictator.

Among African mercenaries in the pay of the Libyan, many can boast of a good military experience. Before Tripoli, they fought for the Sudanese regime of Omar al-Bashir against the wishes of independence of Southern Sudan. These are the same soldiers that the Libyan leader would turn into "Army of the Sahara," under his leadership course.

But that idea fizzled, as attempts by the colonel to give Libya effective armed forces, with a lot of dollars. Tripoli was able to acquire modern Russian fighter-bombers: the Sukhoi 30 and MiG-29, whose first steps proved a humiliation. In 1986, after the attack in a Berlin discotheque frequented by U.S.

soldiers, the U.S. bombed Libya in retaliation. Gaddafi had scrambled their aircraft to repel the assault, but without success. The Libyan pilots were clearly not up to par, despite their preparation under the command of Russian instructors. According to experts, the Libyan military culture has not changed.

Large investments in the arms market are not getting the expected results due to lack of maintenance and operational capacity. A logic that applies a fortiori to mercenaries. Perfect for the most dirty jobs, these troops are also, according to a military observer, "the least reliable, ready to take their legs around their necks if the situation deteriorates."

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