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Libya: Paris Arming Rebels for Assault on Tripoli

French authorities defying arms embargo in hope of breaking “military stalemate.”

John Rosenthal


June 29, 2011 - 9:47 am
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The reported involvement of Qatar in arming the rebels is notable in and of itself. The state-owned Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera has played a prominent role in broadcasting reports of alleged atrocities committed by Libyan government forces. Such reports have served to provide much of the justification for international intervention in the Libyan conflict.

According to a “senior French official” cited by Le Figaro, the end-game of the French strategy is to provoke an uprising in the Libyan capital. “If the rebels get to the outskirts of Tripoli, the capital will surely rise up against Gaddafi,” the official claims. “The regime’s mercenaries are no longer being paid and are barely being fed. There is a severe gas shortage. The population cannot stand it anymore.”

UN Security Council Resolution 1973 reasserted an embargo on arms shipments to Libya already established by Resolution 1970. Resolution 1973 is commonly presented as the legal basis for current NATO military action in Libya.

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John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at or on Facebook here.
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