Qatari special forces led Libyan attack on compound
Arab emirate emerges as major backer of new Libya as world awaits Gaddafi's final showdown
While Foreign Secretary William Hague and former British Army chief Gen Sir Michael Jackson were busily promoting the argument that the Libyan people had taken Tripoli on their own, it has emerged that foreign forces played a significant role in yesterday's storming of Col Gaddafi's compound.
At one stage, Nato commanders had to ask the rebels to hold back from the compound while the RAF launched a final missile attack on Gaddafi's HQ.
And, according to The First Post's defence expert Robert Fox, members of the Qatari special forces, trained by Britain, could be seen clearly directing the final assault on the compound.
The Arab emirate of Qatar has already emerged as a major supporter of the new Libya, arming the rebels over recent months and playing host today to an international conference which will see a billion-dollar-plus fund started towards the rebuilding of war-torn Libya.
The conference comes as members of the National Transitional Council head from Benghazi to Tripoli, pledging to make Libya a "united, civil and democratic nation".
While some believe the fall of Gaddafi is all over bar the actual capture of the dictator and his sons, some voices remain cautious.
The emergence of the audio tape on which Gaddafi claims, absurdly it would seem, that the abandonment of his compound was "tactical" and vows to keep on fighting for "martyrdom or victory" sent a chill through many Libyan hearts.
"It's a symbolic victory," one sceptical resident told the Guardian following the storming of the compound. "Gaddafi is still free. He hasn't been captured. That means the game isn't over yet."
Rana Jawad, reporting for the BBC, writes: "It is amazing just how through this audio alone of Col Gaddafi the regime can strike fear into people here, who still wonder whether there could be some grander scheme that may come to the fore in the next few hours or days."
To compound that fear, Gaddafi's loyal spokesman Moussa Ibrahim has popped up on the Al-Urubah TV channel to say Libya will be turned into a "burning volcano and a fire under the feet of the invaders".
Quite what his threat and those of Gaddafi himself add up to is not clear. But some observers feel the most likely scenario - if Gaddafi hasn't simply fled - is a final showdown in his home town of Sirte.
According to some reports, government troops are heading there now. ·
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