Report: Qaddafi may be trying to negotiate his exit

posted at 8:24 pm on March 7, 2011 by Allahpundit

The first paper to have this today was Asharq al-Awsat, which is owned by one of Qaddafi’s enemies in the Saudi royal family, so I dismissed it. But then Al Jazeera started buzzing about it and now no less than the Wall Street Journal is claiming it’s true.

Mystifying.

In Tripoli, reform-minded officials in the government were lobbying for a plan that calls on Col. Gadhafi to cede power to a council of technocrats who could shepherd a transition toward democratic reforms and a government based on modern institutions, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Under this plan, Col. Gadhafi would be given an honorary title reflecting his service to the country, but be removed from day-to-day decision-making, according to this person.

Members of Col. Gadhafi’s family have been briefed on the plan, according to this person. The threat of prosecution at an international criminal court could deter Col. Gadhafi from agreeing to a negotiated solution, a U.S. official said…

Mr. Obama on Monday repeated that those close to Col. Gadhafi are in a position to decide which side they are on, and would be held accountable for their actions.

“People around [Gadhafi] are getting nervous, and they should,” said a U.S. official.

The person familiar with the government reform proposal said “more than 60%” of officials within government were supportive of a change in government and national reconciliation.

According to Reuters, one of Qaddafi’s confidants went on state TV to talk up negotiations, so yeah, this appears to be more than just western propaganda. And yet, the whole thrust of the news out of Libya over the weekend was that Qaddafi had regained some momentum, using airstrikes against protesters and pushing them out of the town of Bin Jawwad. Rebels in the area complained to reporters that they were outgunned and that “Qaddafi’s forces have really, really grown.” The air force is stocked with loyalists to the regime; so is the city of Sert, which lies on the rebels’ path to Tripoli and where they’re expected to meet heavy resistance. (One expert told Time, “I don’t think the opposition can capture Sert without help from the U.S., the U.K. or NATO.”) And the rebels themselves aren’t trained soldiers, needless to say. The LA Times marvels at them firing off rounds of scarce ammunition in celebration after retaking a town from some of Qaddafi’s goons, and then…

A professional fighting force would have cleared Bin Jawwad house by house Saturday to ferret out lingering pro-Kadafi fighters. But the rebels spent the day snapping souvenir photos, waving flags and firing off their weapons. Then they rested.

The next morning, pro-Kadafi fighters launched their assault by firing on the rebels from the cover of houses. They were backed by helicopter gunships and artillery in the kind of coordinated attack the outgunned rebels have yet to attempt.

Nor did the rebels try to win the loyalties of five local tribes whose support has wavered between the rebellion and Kadafi. Instead, they alienated the tribesmen by shooting up their town and terrifying their wives and children.

So why, given all that, would Qaddafi be looking for the exit? Three possibilities. One: Maybe he’s already run into difficulties resupplying himself with men or materiel and knows he can’t keep this up forever. Between the apparent dissension among his inner circle and the White House saying last night that plans are in the works to jam communications within Qaddafi’s military, the simple logistics of fending off a nationwide rebel assault may be becoming too difficult. Two: Even if he thinks he can still win, what’s his “prize” for winning? He’s lost whatever little international legitimacy he had from giving up his nuke program eight years ago. The fear and awe he inspired at home is broken irretrievably; even if he held on and crushed the rebels in the east, he’d worry constantly about a new revolt. Plus, his neighbors hate him. Egypt may already be eyeing Libya’s oil fields, and the Saudis might pay him back for trying to assassinate King Abdullah by sending arms to the rebels. If Qaddafi can “retire” to Venezuela with a few billion instead of dealing with all that, why not do it?

Three: He thinks the west is going to act sooner rather than later. After the weekend’s airstrikes, some rebels are now begging the UN for a no-fly zone. Russia and China are cool to the idea, but diplomats are telling Reuters that they can probably be persuaded. Once that happens and Qaddafi can’t fly in more guns and goons, it’s a matter of time before he’s overrun. Which explains why his inner circle is suddenly leaning on him to go and why Qaddafi himself is apparently interested in immunity from international law. If the supply lines are about to cut, they really can’t afford to stay in power. And as David Frum explains, we really can’t afford to let him stay in power either:

Here is a consideration that should top the president’s thinking process: What message will it send if Moammar Gadhafi survives?

An anti-American, anti-Western supporter of international terrorism can hold power by killing large numbers of his own people. Meanwhile, nondemocratic rulers aligned with the West are nudged from power by their former friends…

If Gadhafi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still rule territory in a month’s time, and if Hezbollah and Hamas continue to rely on their armed presence to back up the militant policies they impose, the promises of Middle Eastern democracy will look very hollow. And the incentive structure of the Middle East will acquire a sinister new look.

Gadhafi’s departure from power in other words is not just a requirement of humanity and decency. It’s not only justice to the people of Libya. It is also essential to American credibility and the stability of the Middle East region.

“Credibility and stability” are why The One has now shifted his policy from regime change to, ahem, “regime alteration,” but Frum’s right — if no anti-American regimes fall during the “Arab spring,” it’s an invitation for American allies to abandon the White House and crack down hard.

The one thing I can’t figure out in all this, though: Why would a totalitarian like Qaddafi do something as rational as negotiating an exit from an unwinnable situation? What would a “Brother Leader” do with himself without his “family”?

Update: Anne Applebaum complains that it would be presumptuous of the west to intervene when no one in the Arab world has asked us to. As noted above, some have asked us to — including the vice president of the rebels’ provision council. But if that’s not good enough, here’s news off the wires from just this morning:

The Arab League supports imposing a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Moamer Kadhafi’s government forces attacking rebels, French officials said Monday, quoting the league’s secretary general.

Secretary general Amr Mussa told French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe that the league backed the idea when the pair met in Cairo on Sunday, foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters.

“Mr. Musa confirmed the support of the Arab League for a no-fly zone,” Valero said.


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With a bullett,ahem,no doubt!!(sarc).

canopfor on March 7, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Well good for him.

carbon_footprint on March 7, 2011 at 8:30 PM

I was kinda expecting Daffy to go the the Scarface route, except that he would be found hiding in a bathroom somewhere while his Amazon bodyguards did the shooting.

sharrukin on March 7, 2011 at 8:33 PM

a.) Unlikely. b.) He and his family go to Berkeley, Madison or Boulder.

Mason on March 7, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Napoleon is dead. Imprison him on the island of St. Helena in a gilded cage.

SC.Charlie on March 7, 2011 at 8:35 PM

What is this world coming to when a dictator can’t even muscle up enough testosterone to slaughter a few rebels to stay in command. Run out of office by a parade.

Has humanity shrunken so far that we no longer have a Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. Even dictators are feminized now, the wussies.

Skandia Recluse on March 7, 2011 at 8:37 PM

From BreakingNews on Twitter:

Oil firms, Wall Street banks stop trading crude with Libya in wake of sanctions; exports near shutdown – wsj.com

amerpundit on March 7, 2011 at 8:39 PM

I’ve begun to tune out all rumors about this kook. First it was rumored that he was shot, then there was the Chavez peace deal, then this morning it was said that he’d left the country, and now he’s negotiating with the rebels. It’s really hard to believe anything coming out of that region.

Weight of Glory on March 7, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Let the Good Times Roll — The cars — We could be witnessing the change that G.W.Bush started and the One could get the credit for it ..

wheels on March 7, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Well, Galyna’s already gone, so I suppose he’s lost the will to fight.

cynccook on March 7, 2011 at 8:42 PM

If a head of state can no longer use his air force to bomb rebels does that mean that when the underclass suddenly rises up against the elites here in the US the president can’t use air power to put down the rexxxbel onion.

Who would stop him, the UN? Who would declare a no fly zone over the US?

Can’t you just see it now, UN blue helmets keeping the peace in Chicago or East LA?

Skandia Recluse on March 7, 2011 at 8:44 PM

What, no Mo Qaddafi? I thought he was winning?

karl9000 on March 7, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Egypt may already be eyeing Libya’s oil fields

Oh come on Egypt is in this because it has a difficult history with Col Quack and because it knows that instability will be bad for it’s migrant work force and refugees will stress an already stressed economy. Saying they are in it to seize oil wells is a bit of a stretch.

The military situation will likely be overtaken by a humanitarian disaster. Libya is heavily dependent on food imports and there are already shortages. If the Colonel can’t resupply Tripoli then it’s just a matter of time.

lexhamfox on March 7, 2011 at 8:49 PM

What, no Mo Qaddafi? I thought he was winning?

karl9000 on March 7, 2011 at 8:45 PM

heh. he be winnin’ like Charlie Sheen… or something.

ted c on March 7, 2011 at 8:54 PM

What, no Mo Qaddafi? I thought he was winning?

karl9000 on March 7, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Bi-winning! http://www.tmz.com/2011/03/06/charlie-sheen-saturday-night-live-duh-winning-video-ustream-sheens-korner/

cynccook on March 7, 2011 at 8:54 PM

He probably needs an experienced “nurse” about now, to help him settle his nerves.

RBMN on March 7, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Wanna watch the coming doom?

Click here for 10 sec updates on crude oil spot price.

BobMbx on March 7, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Have ANY of these ‘experts’ ever heard of ‘the fog of war’?

Story after story after story … all propaganda …

There is only ONE way kadafi is leaving Lybia!

Freddy on March 7, 2011 at 8:59 PM

An anti-American, anti-Western supporter of international terrorism…

It’s becoming more and more difficult to know if someone is talking about a foreign enemy or our own President.

Connie on March 7, 2011 at 9:02 PM

In that picture he looks like he just walked out of a Saturday Night Live skit.

Unfortunately for 40 plus years the joke has been on the poor souls of Libya.

Libya is yet another example in World History of what happens when the Ruling class meet the unarmed Serfs.

PappyD61 on March 7, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Both Turkey and Egypt have large and modern armed forces and are much closer than we are (Egypt is right next door), let them take up the burden of saving their fellow Muslims from their fellow Muslims. Why do we stupid American infidels always have to be the ones spending and dying for Muslims who will be ungrateful anyway?

Murphy9 on March 7, 2011 at 9:18 PM

Libyans cheered 9/11 and hailed the Pan Am murder home as a great hero. Frack them all.

Murphy9 on March 7, 2011 at 9:19 PM

It’s becoming more and more difficult to know if someone is talking about a foreign enemy or our own President.

Connie on March 7, 2011 at 9:02 PM

The Kenyan Psychopath is both.

Murphy9 on March 7, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Libyans cheered 9/11 and hailed the Pan Am murder home as a great hero. Frack them all.

Murphy9 on March 7, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Yeah, but their oil didn’t.

sharrukin on March 7, 2011 at 9:26 PM

His exit should be horizontal, and permanent!

GFW on March 7, 2011 at 9:29 PM

In that picture he looks like he just walked out of a Saturday Night Live skit.

PappyD61 on March 7, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Perhaps a new career awaits Colonel Qadaffi…..

http://www.myspace.com/grandwizardofwrestling/photos/5468094#%7B%22ImageId%22%3A5468094%7D

Dreadnought on March 7, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Obama mania media in overdrive mode …

tarpon on March 7, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Well let’s hope that his negotiations are with a Sea-Sparrow/JDAM/ or Tomahawk cruise missiles..any thing else is unacceptable.

hawkman on March 7, 2011 at 10:21 PM

WWCSD

(What would Charlie Sheen Do?)

percysunshine on March 8, 2011 at 6:27 AM

FLASHBACK 2004: Kaddafi plotted to kill Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah

A federal judge sentenced Muslim activist Abdurahman Alamoudi to the maximum 23-year prison term for illegal dealings with Libya that included his involvement in a complex plot to kill the Saudi ruler.

Kaddafi’s blood debt to The Saud royals is overdue. The Obamateur should encourage them to collect in full.

Step 1: Greenlight the $audis to put a bounty on Q’s head.

Step 2: Watch Q’s hired mercs climb over each other to present Q’s head on a plate.

Step 3: Light Cohiba and enjoy lower gas prices.

Terp Mole on March 8, 2011 at 7:13 AM

If a Libyan sneezes. they raise our gas prices
If hugo coughs. they raise our gas prices
If the sauds dont get thier fake snow for the saudi extreme sports challenge in time. they raise gas prices.

Heres a saudi joke.

Mo: pull my finger
Hamed: ok. but shall I pull it from the east?…
Mo: JUST pull it, the Americans will pay for it anways.

Gedge on March 8, 2011 at 8:04 AM

If the Arab League supports a no fly zone, then they can pay for it. It’s not like they don’t have the money at $100+ a barrel oil.

skeneogden on March 8, 2011 at 9:45 AM

It looks like someone learned a second lesson from Saddam.

andycanuck on March 8, 2011 at 10:25 AM

The LA Times marvels at them firing off rounds of scarce ammunition in celebration after retaking a town from some of Qaddafi’s goons, and then…

Wasting ammo is a really bad habit for a soldier to get into.

Count to 10 on March 8, 2011 at 11:20 AM