The endgame in Libya appears near, according to Western intelligence sources, who say that Moammar Gaddafi’s family has been moving money and other assets outside the country over the past five days in anticipation of the regime’s collapse. According to these sources, Gaddafi has left Tripoli but is still in the country.
Intelligence officers from Britain and France are said to have helped the rebels plan their final assault on Tripoli, which appeared Sunday to have pushed into the capital’s outskirts. This final thrust seems to have been well-coordinated, with the rebels closing in along several strategic axes.
In the past week, the NATO coalition’s sometimes frustrating strategy finally seems to have jelled, with the capture of Zawiyah, a strategic oil-refining center west of the capital. Gaddafi’s troops have failed to rally — perhaps because they are finally feeling the squeeze of the coalition’s strategy to bleed them of money and resources until the regime finally implodes.
A sign that the implosion may at last be happening is the reported transfer of money. Some of it has gone to Algerian accounts, according to a source in contact with the banking network that is said to be conducting the transactions. The Gaddafi family, including his three sons, is said by this source to be in Tunisia, perhaps on the way to exile in Algeria.
It’s unclear what Gaddafi’s moves will be in the coming days, as his regime cracks. Some weeks ago, an intermediary suggested that he wanted internal exile in the Libyan dessert. But that option may be vanishing, as Gaddafi loses his hold on Tripoli and his bargaining leverage.
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