Vote Gaddafi out?

Is Gaddafi offering a way out?

Via Reuters:  Gaddafi revives offer of vote to end Libya conflict

Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Gaddafi’s administration, told reporters in Tripoli the government was proposing a period of national dialogue and an election overseen by the United Nations and the African Union.

“If the Libyan people decide Gaddafi should leave he will leave. If the people decide he should stay he will stay,” Ibrahim said.

But he said Gaddafi — who has run the oil-producing country since taking over in a military coup in 1969 — would not go into exile whatever happened. “Gaddafi is not leaving anywhere, he is staying in this country,” Ibrahim said.

Several thoughts:

1)  If Gaddafi is offering this option (even if it ultimately is an disingenuous one), it would seem to indicate that things aren’t going too well for his side.  If the status quo was to his liking, it is unlikley that he would try and alter it.

2)  My guess is that the purpose is less to enter into serious dialog, but to give some members of NATO an out (or, at least, to cause a rift between those who would want to keep bombing and those who may be tiring of the campaign).

3)  The opposition isn’t going to be interested because a) they won’t trust the process, b) they will assume the same thing that I assume in point #1, and c) the lack of exile of would be a non-starters in any event.

As such, this strikes me as neither a sincere offer nor one that would be accepted by the rebels in any event.

FILED UNDER: Africa, US Politics, World Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. michael reynolds says:

    It’s not his first such offer. He’s on the ropes. There’s zero chance of him bringing down the Benghazi government. His only hope is that the new government fractures. So far that’s not happening.

    (And of course early suggestions without any serious evidence that the Benghazi government is substantially Al Qaeda seem to have evaporated.)

    I’ve been pointing out for some time that to understand the situation one should take a look at the map. Gaddafi has very little left in the eastern half of the country, but at the same time the rebels hold a number of major positions in the west — notably Misurata, but also some border crossings and positions in the suburbs of Tripoli.

    In addition to the facts of the map, there is the fact that Gaddafi has nowhere to turn for reinforcements or new weapons. The rebels do.

    That said, taking Tripoli could be a long, hard battle, possibly beyond the means and the stamina of the rebels. So Gaddafi can hang on, unless a missile finds him. But hanging on isn’t victory, it’s just slow-motion defeat.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    If Gaddafi is offering this option (even if it ultimately is an disingenuous one), it would seem to indicate that things aren’t going too well for his side.

    Or, alternatively, he may have supreme confidence (misplaced or not) that he would prevail. If, indeed, he were to prevail in such an election, I suspect it would, at the very least, discourage some of the international support that was required for us to begin the air campaign against him in the first place.

  3. Lit3Bolt says:

    I’m a little young, but hasn’t Gaddafi always had a history of making batsh*t insane offers to world leaders and unusual negotiating tactics? The standard megalomaniacal schtick and all that? Or did he just do stuff like that for attention like Chavez?