Colonel Moammar Qaddafi, running out of money and weapons in the ongoing Libyan civil war, may be planning one last offensive as he tries to gain bargaining power before agreeing to talks that would ease him out of power, DEBKAfile, an Israeli military-intelligence tabloid, is reporting.Late last night, a Libyan government official told journalists that rebel troops and allied NATO forces had embarked on a “heavy, merciless and surprising” attack against Qaddafi troops near the eastern oil port of Brega, according to CNN. NATO denied the allegation, saying its operations in the country were only to “prevent attacks and threats against civilians” and that it had no contact with rebel forces.
DEBKAfile alleges that the government’s claim of heavy fighting in Brega conveniently cloaks its movement of forces to the Western mountains, where it will attempt a final offensive in order to gain bargaining power in talks that are expected to commence soon.
Reports have spread recently that President Barack Obama has agreed to seek a political solution to the conflict, appointing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to negotiate with the Libyan government on his behalf—under the condition that, ultimately, Qaddafi step down.
Allied countries—under the auspices of the Libya Contact Group—met in Istanbul today to discuss how to move toward a solution to the conflict and an end to the civil war. Russian did not attend the meeting, saying all discussions related to Libya should take place in the United Nations.
At the Istanbul meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. would finally recognise the Libyan rebels—represented by the Libyan National Council—as the “legitimate authority” of the Libyan people.
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