The son and heir apparent of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, Seif al-Islam, resurfaced in Tripoli early this (Tuesday) morning, prompting an early wake up call for the world hacks grouped at Rixos hotel by the regime minders.
The display of defiance by Seif Gaddafi among his gun-brandishing supporters with dozens of the regimes green flags behind them, less than 24 hours from International Criminal Court ICC announcement that it was arranging with the rebels for his trial, has been a PR disaster for the western baked National Transitional Council NTC.
Not only 12 hours earlier they were issuing statements on who would try young Gaddafi but also were informing the media that 'instructions were given to treat him well and respect his human rights, before his trial'.
They still have a mountain to climb in the propaganda war. Propaganda has been a major weapon in Gaddafi's arsenal, as it is the case with dictators of the same model. The NTC has to give a plausible explanation to western journalists, who, by the very nature of free press standards, are cynical and suspicious of officials' and politicians' narrative in most political events, let alone a war based on ideology and views of history.
Was Gaddafi's heir apparent really captured or was it a case of mistaken identity?
Did he have a double like the late Saddam Hussein's infamous son, Uday?
Or, more embarrassing still, was he captured put under house arrest and managed to give his amateurish guards the slip?
Or, worse still, freed by loyal supporters?
And if so, what were the circumstances of any of the scenarios above?
Is the Libya's NTC , which has won recognition from more than 30 countries including the United States, Britain, France and Qatar and now looks set to take over the running of the country, capable of holding an inquiry into the circumstances of this major PR flop?
And if they can't handle such PR blunder soon and answer journalists' questions, how on earth will they meet the challenges of securing Tripoli, maintaining law and order, or keep Libyan citizens safe?
In addition to the PR disaster, Mr Gaddafi Jr's display of defiance was also a wakeup call for observers and commentators to realities of the Libya civil war saga, that sometimes a swift victory in one battle could result in undesirable consequences.
Realities to bear in mind before Prim Minister David Cameron and his allies declare 'Mission accomplished'.
The rebels who drove fast and with astonishing speed from the town of Zawyah, 30 miles to the Green Square in Tripoli, might have been fierce with fire in their heart, but they have little connection, in a hierarchical administrative or military structure with the leadership of the 40 member NTC.
The Council was set up after the uprising against Gaddafi in February by mostly liberal-minded lawyers, doctors, academics and business executives from eastern Libya and led by Gaddafi's former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
It has been ruling in "liberated" areas maintaining supplies of food, basic services and state salaries but there have been fears of divisions, especially since the still unexplained late July killing of rebel military commander Abdel Fattah Younes, upon whom many western leaders pinned hopes for democratic reforms and quick return to normal business after the fall of Gaddafi.
And that was in the relative safety of Benghazi. In Tripoli the picture still not clear and divisions could be worse. Most of the rebels who controlled southern parts of the capital like , Green Square area, and its sounding ( but not the harbour which still in Gaddafi loyalists hands) are mainly the Berber and tribe from the western hill. They don't seem to have a administrative or military discipline. Their western handlers ( mainly British special forces and former British soldiers through security private firms backed by London) might not have had the time to train them on how to become a temporary disciplined occupying force. How to handle your enemy prisoners ( if it was the case that they did hold Gaddafi Jr and lost him again,) or protect population now under your occupation. And it seems, from Seif Gaddafi's incident, there was little communication between them and NTC in Benghazi.
As Gaddafi loyalist still in control of parts of Tripoli from which they can launch deadly attacks against which NATO airpower, which enabled the rebels to advance on Tripoli in the first place, seems impotent.
Last night when Gaddafi forces in Sirte launched a Scud missile, a child of WW2 German V2 flying bomb it was intercepted by NATO aircraft fighters. But this airpower can't be used now against Gaddafi forces lead by his sons in the capital Tripoli.
One of the basic rules of war is to regulate the advance of your infantry to make use of your air superiority. Too fast advance would engage your forces with the enemy in proximities that would make it difficult for air force to intervene without 'friendly fire' harming your side.
Now it is near impossible to use the RAF to attack Bab al-Aziziyah barracks where the Gaddafis believe to make a strong stand and organise counter attacks. Thousands of civilians are there as 'human shields'' as well as many civilians in the surrounding area. Any areal bombardment would turn into a civilian massacre.
The morning after the rebels jubilant takeover of many parts of Tripoli hasn't, so far, been a good day for the rebels.
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