Uganda has freely offered embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi refuge in Uganda as diplomats attempt to persuade the defiant leader to leave office without military force. However, if Gaddafi chooses to fight to the end as he once avowed, the international coalition said it is prepared to arm Libyan rebels.
According to reports, negotiations on securing Gaddafi’s exit were being conducted with “absolute discretion” and that there were options on the table that hadn’t yet been formalized.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said several nations are willing to welcome Gaddafi and his family, obviously to end this situation which otherwise could go on for some time.
“He [Gaddafi] would be welcome here [Uganda],” spokesman for Uganda’s president, Tamale Mirundi, told the AP.
Frattin however warned that immunity was not an option for Gaddafi.
But if all fails to persuade Gaddafi, the international community is prepared to arm Libyan rebels following reports that Gaddafi’s ground forces are swiftly reversing the gains rebels made since international airstrikes began.
Although coalition airstrikes have neutralized Gaddafi’s air force and pounded his army his ground forces remain superiorly equipped, trained and organized compared to rebel fighters.
A military strategy by Gaddafi forces have seen them abandon their tanks and armored vehicles for minivans, sedans and SUVs fitted with weapons.
This strategy has made it harder for the coalition to distinguish Gaddafi’s forces from the rebels. So far, Gaddafi’s forces recaptured a strategic oil town Wednesday and moved within salient distance of another major eastern city.
The turnaround of events has convinced the United States that the poorly equipped opposition is unlikely to carry out a regime change revolution without decisive Western intervention [An all-out U.S.-led military assault on regime forces or a decision to arm the rebels].
But China, Russia and Germany oppose supplying weapons to the rebels.
The mandate to protect under the U.N. resolution dictates that nations supplying weapons would need to be satisfied they would be used only to defend civilians and not to take the offensive to Gaddafi’s forces.
This limitation has led France, one of the strongest backers of international intervention in Libya, to demand for a new U.N. resolution concerning Libya.