Libya: loyalists continue the battle

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

FIERCE fighting continues in Libya as loyalist forces continue to repel puppet regime troops trying to oust them from their remaining bastions. Repeated drives into Sirte, Colonel Gaddafi’s last remaining port on the Mediterranean, have been beaten back.

Puppet militia efforts to take Bani Walid and the key desert town of Sabha have been rebuffed despite the best efforts of Nato warplanes to smash the defences. The underground Baathist resistance in Iraq has pledged its support for the Gaddafi government and loyalist tribal forces have liberated the oasis town of Ghadames on the border with Tunisia and Algeria.

But rebel pogroms against African immigrants continue while ineffectual puppet leaders squabble over posts in a puppet government that has to be formed.

Resistance continues. Loyalist commandos planted bombs in Tripoli’s naval dockyard which exploded Saturday afternoon sending a huge plume of smoke over the capital. They say they also sank a French supply ship laden with arms for the puppet regime and claim to have killed a leading Al Qaeda militia leader in the capital.

Reports that Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, has been killed have not been confirmed. He’s the Taliban fighter who recently filed a million pound compensation claim from the British government that he says allowed his “extraordinary rendition” via the British territory of Diego Garcia after his arrest in Malaysia in 2004. British intelligence and the CIA then passed him on to the Libyans and Belhadj claims he then spent the next six years being interrogated under torture before being released in a Gaddafi amnesty last year.


But the death of another top rebel commander has been confirmed by rebel authorities. Daw Saleheen, was killed on Wednesday by a heat-seeking rocket while fighting in Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli.

And it was Bani Walid’s local radio station that broadcast the latest defiant call from the Libyan leader to keep up the fight and drive the imperialists and their stooges out of the country. Mocking those who said he was in Venezuela or Niger he said: “I am with my people” warning the rebels that they “will receive an unexpected blow over the next few days”.

We’ll have to wait to see what that means. The fact that Gaddafi is still alive and still in Libya is, of course, the most “unexpected” blow to the imperialists and their local puppets.

The loyalists could fight on for years if reports that Libyan leader has managed to spirit away the country’s entire gold reserves are true. The same cannot be said for the imperialists or the big oil corporations that want to see the black gold pumping as soon as possible.