SOLYMONE BLOG

GADHAFI UNDER MORE PRESSURE, OIL MINISTER DEFECTS


TRIPOLI, Libya – Another high-ranking Libyan official has defected and fled the country amid a widening NATO campaign of bombings as well as leafletting and other psychological warfare to persuade Moammar Gadhafi's troops to stop fighting.
Shukri Ghanem, the Libyan oil minister and head of the National Oil Co., crossed into neighboring Tunisia by road on Monday, according to a Tunisian security official and Abdel Moneim al-Houni, a former Libyan Arab League representative who was among the first wave of Libyan diplomats to defect.
  • The defections suggest Gadhafi's political structure is fraying, but it's unclear whether there is enough internal strife to seriously undermine his ability to fight rebel forces as NATO airstrikes pound Libyan military targets. Gadhafi appears to retain the backing of his core of military commanders.
  • Still, support for Gadhafi seems to be waning in the capital, Tripoli. Pro-regime demonstrations are sparsely attended, even when heavily advertised in advance.
In the capital, Tripoli, NATO air planes reportedly hit two buildings on Tuesday, including one which a Libyan spokesman said contained files detailing corruption cases against government officials who had defected to the rebels.
Officials summoned reporters after the attack in the early hours to visit the two damaged buildings which they said housed internal security forces and Libya's anti-corruption agency. One building was in flames.
Source: AP, Agency
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