You have to wonder how many members of Gaddafi’s military are mercenaries. The fighting there, seesawing back and forth, isn’t making any real sense. First the “rebels” pushed Gaddafi’s forces all the way to Surt in the west. There were reports of his fighters throwing off their uniforms and leaving their munitions and equipment behind as they fled. Now, Gaddafi’s military is pushing back, with the rebels apparently in full retreat.
Like Gaddafi himself, this is bizarre.
The AP reports Muammar Gaddafi has a force of around 10,000 in his “32nd Brigade.” They are said to be trained, well equipped and loyal. Surely, these were not the fighters that were in full retreat? Another report indicates mercenaries are being called in from places like Zimbabwe and Mali, for $10,000 up front, and $1000 a day thereafter.
At one point, the New York Times reported that he helped train and equip “legions of African mercenaries.” Some, apparently left to rent out their services to tyrants in other parts of the continent, but have now been called back to Libya.
One reason for the naval blockade, apparently, is to stop some mercenaries from entering the country. It would be fascinating to know precisely how many Gaddafi is using, whether he’s continuing to bring them in and how much of the money he looted over the years is still within his reach. No money, no mercenaries. It could be important.