August 23, 2019

Assassination of Saif al-Arab Gaddafi a desperate NATO gamble

Saif-al-Arab-Gaddafi was not a miltary commander or political leader, but his name was enough to make him significant.

The death of Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, and three of his children in a NATO airstrike has raised the stakes in Libya’s civil war.

If Colonel Gaddafi was resolute in his resistance before, with the spilling of hisown families blood he will most likely now fight to the bitter end.

NATO have become increasingly desperate for a decisive breakthrough in a civil war that has become a bloody stalemate.

There is no question that NATO was broadening the base of their attacks to include communications and command structures.

The Bab al-Aziziya compound where the Gaddafi family was located cetainly was part of the military command and communications structure.

But for NATO to hit it with the amount of ordinance they did, does indicate that one of their mission objectives was personal harm to Colonel Gaddafi and his family.

This tactic is a political two-edged sword. The removal of Gaddafi would likely bring an end to the conflict. Libya is built on a personality cult of ‘one’. To remove Gaddafi is to remove his regime.

But to martyr one of his sons and three of his grand-children has the potential to shift sympathy in the arab and African worlds’ back towards Gaddafi.

Within the NATO alliance too, countries like Germany and Turkey who were unhappy about NATO enforcing the United Nations resolution from the start might exert more pressure on Britain,Italy and France to pull back.

Just to rub salt into the NATO wounds, reports are coming in of heavy shelling of rebel positions in Misrata around the port facilities. It seems NATO can kill children but it can’t stop the pro-Gaddafi artillery.