Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Botched Defection classic case of 'covert Confusion'..."

"... The Kusa defection is a classic case of covert confusion. The Libyan official had originally planned to defect to France. A French intelligence officer is said to have contacted him on March 10 during a meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A French intelligence official met him again on March 29 at the Royal Garden Hotel in Djerba, Tunisia, and pitched him about defecting, promising residency, financial help and legal immunity.The French plan faltered the next morning after Paris demanded that, as part of the deal, Kusa appear publicly with President Nicolas Sarkozy when he arrived in Paris and denounce Gaddafi. Kusa refused, and initiated frantic contacts with MI6 representatives in London about fleeing there. The British first asked for three days to work out details, but when Kusa said he had to leave immediately, MI6 hammered out the basics in several hours, and the Libyan flew to Farnborough Airport, southwest of London.Kusa’s escape to Britain got off to a bad start. MI6 officers met him at the airport, but his visa paperwork wasn’t ready for several hours. The British weren’t demanding that Kusa publicly renounce Gaddafi, but they weren’t offering him immunity from prosecution, either, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and 1984 shooting of a British policewoman. His debriefing at a safe house on the southern coast was rocky, in part because of the media frenzy about his defection — with Kusa reading tabloid headlines such as the Daily Mail’s description of him as Gaddafi’s “Fingernail-Puller-in-Chief.”When Kusa’s passport was returned to him in mid-April, he promptly left for Qatar, nominally to attend a meeting of the “contact group” opposing Libya. He hasn’t left Doha since. The defection mishaps have been a “laughing stock” back in Libya and undermined hopes of other recruitments, according to one intelligence source.Whatever the NATO coalition’s miscues, the fact that Gaddafi’s circle has sent an emissary to Washington suggests that military pressure is slowly taking its toll. The problem is that because Libya’s tribal politics are so backward — CIA officers used to refer to the Libyan power elite as “the Flintstones” — a stable transition will be difficult. The TNC rebel movement still seems like a ragtag mix of ex-Gaddafi officials and Islamist militants.
If there’s a deal that can get Gaddafi out, end the fighting, unite the tribes and create a reasonably stable coalition government run by technocrats, the correct answer for the Obama administration would be “yes.”

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