Entries in Moussa Koussa (2)


Moammar Gadhafi Could Face Surge of Government Defections

ABC News(LONDON) -- Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa's decision to break from Col. Moammar Gadhafi's ranks and defect to Britain may mean others within the Libyan strongman's circle are ready to jump ship as the fighting with anti-government rebels intensifies.

In fact, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who was Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, predicted as much Thursday, saying that a number of high-ranking officials want to go now but are being blocked by tight security.

Dabbashi said that Kouusa's "defection exposes the lies that the regime are putting out.  Koussa knows that Colonel Gahdafi is finished."

Koussa managed to make his escape by claiming he was in poor health and needed treatment in Tunisia.  From there, he traveled to Britain, although the government there says they'll offer Koussa, who has been tied to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, no immunity.

Meanwhile, Dabbashi's prediction was coming true as another former Libyan foreign minister said he had left the Gadhafi inner circle.  Ali Abdessalam Treki wrote on several websites, "It is our nation's right to live in freedom and democracy and enjoy a good life."

There was also a report in Britain’s The Independent newspaper Friday that British government officials are talking “with up to 10 senior figures in Col. Gadhafi's creaking regime about possible defection”.

The paper said the defectors include a senior aide to one of Gadhafi’s sons, the head of Libya’s external intelligence service, Libya’s oil minister, and the secretary of the General People's Congress.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebels in Retreat as Country's Foreign Minister Resigns

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Libyan rebels have retreated, despite support from NATO airstrikes, days after seeming to turn the tide against leader Moammar Gadhafi. The ongoing battle has shown no signs of abating as President Obama Wednesday signed a presidential finding authorizing covert operations to assist the anti-Gadhafi forces.

Rebels were met overnight with heavy fire from Gadhafi forces as cars fled the eastern city of Ajdabiya, erasing almost all of the rebels' gains. Gadhafi's troops have been using pickup trucks armed with heavy weapons, making them hard to distinguish from the rebels in the air.

After a fast advance to the doorstep of Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, the rebels have lost town after town. But with every major advance for Gadhafi, comes a major setback.

One of his closest allies made his own full retreat Wednesday night, all the way to London. Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa resigned from the regime in protest against Gadhafi's attacks against civilians. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Koussa's departure is a sign that Gadhafi's regime is "crumbling." Hague also said Koussa is "not being offered any immunity from British or international justice."

But as one member of Gadhafi's inner circle exits, another has newly emerged. Once rarely seen in the media, Gadhafi's only daughter, Aisha, has now taken to Libyan TV and to the frontline, echoing her father's message that they will not back down.

Meanwhile, NATO officials said Thursday morning that they have taken control over air operations in Libya, which include enforcing the no-fly zone.

As the presidential finding discusses a number of ways to help the opposition to Gadhafi, including authorizing some help now and setting up a legal framework for more activities in the future, it does not direct covert operatives to provide arms to the rebels immediately, although it does prepare for such a contingency.

President Obama said in a speech Monday that protecting civilians from near certain genocide and not ousting Gadhafi was the intended purpose of the U.S. air strikes that started two weeks ago.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio