August 22, 2011
Despite widespread jubilation, the “end game” of the Libyan rebels’ revolt could definitely last quite some time, said a Texas Tech University expert in African diplomacy.
Tibor Nagy (pronounced Nahzh), Texas Tech’s vice provost for international affairs and former ambassador to both Ethiopia and Guinea, says Tripoli is really two cities – a poor, industrial eastern part which is fervently anti-Moammar Gadhafi, and a more prosperous western side with lots of government workers and business leaders who have been enriched by the current regime.
“At best, I think we’re looking at something similar to the Soviet siege of Berlin at the end of World War II; at worst it could be Stalingrad,” Nagy said. “The rebels have sky-high morale and enthusiasm, but lack cohesion and strict command and control tactics. The regime forces are under siege, but they have superior discipline and firepower, and have nowhere to go – and probably fear for their lives if they lose (especially the Sub-Saharan African mercenaries).
Nagy also said that urban fighting with indistinguishable troops also will hinder NATO’s ability to hit selective targets from the air.
“So while I’m optimistic about the final outcome, I fear it may be more prolonged than most folks want or expect,” he said.
Another significant factor, Nagy said, will be the whereabouts of Gadhafi – if he is killed or captured or flees Libya, that would be it. If he remains in hiding in the country, that would likely prolong matters.
Nagy can be reached at (806) 742-2218 or at email@example.com.
Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at www.media.ttu.edu and on Twitter @TexasTechMedia.