Libya’s foreign minister Moussa Koussa defected to Britain last night (Mar 30) in what is seen as a major blow to Colonel Gaddafi’s regime.
Koussa who was previously one of Gaddafi’s closest allies and once described by the Bush administration as as “chief fingernail puller” flew into Britain from Tunisia last night.
The Foreign Office told the Guardian: “He travelled here under his own free will. He has told us that he is resigning his post. We are discussing this with him and we will release further detail in due course”.
“Moussa Koussa is one of the most senior figures in Gaddafi’s government and his role was to represent the regime internationally – something that he is no longer willing to do.”
Koussa’s action goes some way to vindicate the Foreign Office’s policy of encouraging
“those around Gaddafi to abandon him and embrace a better future for
Libya that allows political transition and real reform that meets the
aspirations of the Libyan people.”
His defection will undoubtedly be a morale boost to the rebel fighters who have been forced into retreat by pro-Gaddafi forces in recent days.
He is also likely to provide the Allies with invaluable intelligence on the state of Gaddafi’s regime.
The defection comes as the rebels continue to lose ground to pro-Gaddafi troops. The rebels have been pushed back as far as Ajdabiyah leading the Allies to speculate that the UN-mandated airstrikes and no-fly zone which kicked off on March 19 might not be enough to help the rebels oust Gaddafi.
The Allies are now reportedly discussing the possibility of arming the rebels and providing training for them.
It has also been reported that President Obama signed a secret order authorising covert US support for the rebels and that CIA and MI6 operatives were already on the ground in Libya.