الاثنين، 8 أغسطس، 2011

The Time: Libya after Gaddafi: the grand design for a post-Gaddafi country

by Akhbar Libya on Monday, 08 August 2011 at 12:05
Tom Coghlan Defence Correspondent
Britain and other Western governments have helped to prepare a blueprint for a post-Gaddafi Libya that would retain much of the current regime’s security infrastructure to avoid an Iraq-style collapse into anarchy.





The Times has obtained a copy of the 70-page plan charting the first months after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. The document was drawn up by the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi with Western, and especially British, help.


The document reveals that rebel forces have little faith in their ability to topple Colonel Gaddafi, but expect the regime to crumble from within.


Despite their public rhetoric, the top secret document reveals that rebel planners conclude that a successful advance on Tripoli is unlikely, as is the death of Colonel Gaddafi in a Nato bombing raid. Instead they think that he is most likely to be ousted by a popular uprising or coup.


Officials said that the blueprint drew on lessons from the disastrous regime change in Iraq in 2003 and the rebel takeover in eastern Libya in March.


The plans are highly reliant on the defection of parts of the existing Gaddafi security apparatus to the rebels after his overthrow. This is likely to prove not only risky but controversial, with many rebel fighters determined to sweep away all vestiges of the old regime. The document includes:


• proposals for a 10,000-15,000 strong “Tripoli task force” of guards, resourced and supported by the United Arab Emirates, to take over the Libyan capital, secure key sites and arrest high-level Gaddafi supporters;


• claims that 800 serving Gaddafi government security officials have already been recruited covertly to the rebel cause inside Tripoli, are being vetted and are ready to form the “backbone” of a new security apparatus;


• planning for approximately 5,000 policemen, now serving in units not ideologically committed to the Gaddafi regime, to be transferred immediately to the new interim government’s forces to prevent a security vacuum.


The documents claim that rebel groups inside Tripoli and surrounding areas have 8,660 supporters, including 3,255 inside the Gaddafi army.


A mass defection by high-ranking officials is considered highly likely, with 70 per cent adjudged to support the regime out of fear alone. The authors of the report also believe that the escalation of Nato attacks to an “unbearable” level is a strong possibility.


The rebel NTC in Benghazi confirmed the authenticity of the planning documents but requested that The Times withhold details that could endanger rebel supporters in Tripoli.


Aref Ali Nayed, the rebel government’s ambassador to the UAE and the head of the planning cell for the task force, expressed regret that the document had been leaked. But he added: “It is important that the general public [in Libya] knows that there is an advance plan, and it is now a much more advanced plan.”


The document shows evidence of detailed planning for key security, telecommunications, power and transport infrastructure that is to be secured in the hours after the collapse of the regime — as well as the country’s famous Classical era ruins.


Rebel leaders express concern in the document that Tripoli’s population should not feel they are being “invaded” by troops from eastern Libya. Significantly, there are no plans to deploy rebel forces from the east. Instead “sections of Nafusa Mountain and Zentan Freedom Fighters” from the west would be moved to Tripoli and media messages will stress that there is “no external imposition on Tripolitanians”. Most of Tripoli’s interim security force would come from the city.


An internationally backed one-month programme for the emergency supply of $550 million of gas and petrol to western Libya would begin immediately after the fall of the regime. There is also a UN-supported programme to deliver immediate humanitarian aid by land, sea and air with support from key Muslim countries such as the UAE, Qatar and Turkey.


There is a suggestion that, in the event of Colonel Gaddafi being killed or deposed, the NTC and its Western backers would be prepared to negotiate with his sons.


A series of lessons learnt from the takeover in Benghazi warns against the creation of multiple rebel groups in Tripoli and calls for a “clear plan to deal with a hostile fifth column”.


Dr Nayed told The Times: “What you have obtained was an early draft. It is not a political position and you have to entertain it in that spirit — and it has gone through further revision since that time. We are now working on a much bigger picture.”


A spokesman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We have learnt from past conflicts that it is crucial that the international system starts planning early for stabilising peace.”


Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, the former Bosnia High Representative, said. “This sounds like a sensible contingency plan but we should not assume that we are all going to reach this place tomorrow. In my judgment it will be messy. The outcome at least for a while will be a divided Libya ... It will be messy and inelegant but it is certainly preferable to what we saw in Iraq.”


The Times London

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