The Wall Street Journal reports:
New U.S. intelligence shows Col. Moammar Gadhafi is “seriously considering” fleeing Tripoli for a more secure location outside the capital, according to U.S. officials, raising the prospect that the Libyan leader’s hold on power is increasingly fragile.
The intelligence depicts a Libyan leader who “doesn’t feel safe anymore” in Tripoli because of stepped-up strikes by North Atlantic Treaty Organization aircraft and by battlefield gains by rebel forces, according to a senior U.S. national-security official briefed on the recent reports that the intelligence community has shared with the White House and other agencies.
The timing behind any possible move isn’t known and doesn’t appear to be imminent, a U.S. official said. Such intelligence has been seen before, although with less intensity. U.S. intelligence agencies have seen no indications that Col. Gadhafi intends to leave the country, the officials said.
Nonetheless, U.S. officials believe military pressure on Tripoli in recent days has prompted Col. Gadhafi to seek safer ground, after more than three months of allied attacks. Col. Gadhafi has several residences and other facilities outside Tripoli to which he could relocate, said a senior U.S. defense official.
Ali Al-Isawi, the vice president of the executive office of Libya’s Transitional National Council in Benghazi, writes:
The world knows there is no future for democracy in Libya while Kadafi remains in power. The Libyan opposition’s Transitional National Council, recognized by more than a dozen European nations, is generally considered the only legitimate ruling interim authority in Libya until stability can be restored and full, free elections can be held.
Despite some assistance from many countries, the council is finding it increasingly difficult to provide essential services as the conflict drags on. The council must provide for residents and displaced people in the eastern half of the country, where it is in authority, and it must coordinate humanitarian aid and medical supplies for besieged areas, such as Misurata, and in refugee camps along Libya’s borders.
The council was unable to pay the May salaries for employees in the public sector. We have purchased fuel on credit. Medical supplies are at a critically low level. We have no drugs available for cancer, heart and kidney patients or for those suffering from psychological ailments. Anesthesia supplies are running low as the conflict creates major casualties in need of immediate treatment and care.