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Gaddafi Draws On Gigantic "Hoard Of Cash" To Stave Off Uprising

Kevin Douglas Grant |
March 9, 2011 | 8:05 p.m. PST

Executive Editor

Via B.R.Q. Network
Via B.R.Q. Network
As his Libyan loyalists and hired mercenaries enjoy success in Zawiya after a "thirteen-and-a-half hour barrage of bombs," the New York Times has revealed the secret to Col. Moammar Gaddafi's resilience.

He's spending some of the tens of billions of dollars he's cleverly stashed away in Tripoli, safe from the freeze on his bank accounts around the world:

"The money — in Libyan dinars, United States dollars and possibly other foreign currencies — allows Colonel Qaddafi to pay his troops, African mercenaries and political supporters in the face of a determined uprising."

Gaddafi's financial lifeblood lends new credence to theories that the dictator can outlast the rebellion without further outside intervention.  An analyst at the UK's Independent said Gaddafi has proven remarkably strong thus far:

"Western leaders keep underestimating the Libyan dictator. He may be a fantasist, he may behave and act as if he was in opera buffa. But he hasn't survived in power for more than 40 years by being a buffoon. He is shrewd about power, clever about dividing his rivals (and his own family) and ruthless in his removal of opponents."

The Washington Post says that President Obama has been content to let other world powers take the lead on Libya:

"Obama's caution has been dictated in part by the challenge in dealing with one of the world's most hermetic countries and the fluid situation on the ground. The administration knows little about Libya's well-armed rebels, cannot predict the political system that might replace Gaddafi's bizarre rule, and faces an array of military options to stop the fighting."

The U.S. is working behind the scenes in a variety of ways, while a number of Congressional leaders have urged a full-scale military intervention.
A reporter at Australia's ABC.net explained the Obama strategy: "By mostly removing itself as the central protagonist of the Arab Spring, Washington is devolving that responsibility to the people who deserve it, and letting the focus remain instead on the brutal misgovernance of the region's dictators."
American multilateralism opens the door for European moderation, reflected in reports that NATO is unlikely to intervene.  The Guardian writes:
"In Brussels, prior to a two-day defence ministers' meeting, Nato's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the alliance had no intention of intervening and would only do so if the security council called for it." 
Putting the different pieces of the puzzle together, Gaddafi looks to have plenty of time on his hands. Even with Libya's oil output drastically down, there's nothing like cold, hard cash in hand.



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