AS NATO bombers are once again brought to bear on opposition that is too much for the raggle taggle fighters in Libya to overcome, the search is on for Ghaddafi. Rumour places him everywhere from Damascus and Moscow to the vast tracts of the Libyan desert in the company of Tuareg fighters who know the desert like the back of their hands. When it comes to rumour, and one has the possibility to choose, I like the Tuareg version best. It smacks of imagination and Romantic defiance, a role into which one can easily place the elusive Ghaddafi. The NTC have run from Oasis to Oasis in search of him, but beyond the last Oasis is the desert, vast, arid, and hostile to those who do not live in it, like the Tuareg.
And despite the headway of the NTC under the umbrella of a NATO airforce, there is still considerable support for Ghaddafi in the oases of the desert and amongst the Tuareg, not to mention the cities and towns, so the first stage of the NTC victory will be a fragile one. The real battle will be to unite disparate tribes and forces that are not easily given to co-operation, a pattern becoming familiar to Western forces operating in regions beyond their ken.
So in the meantime, while Ghaddafi has vanished into the desert in the company of the Tuareg (my version of choice today) I will allow my imagination to roam in that direction until proved otherwise, and even then I may cling to it for a while, because their is just too much harsh reality around at the moment in one screwed up world, with no sign of it ever abating.
29th September 2011