According to the latest information from MI6 Moammar Gadhafi is paranoid and on the run within Tripoli. They claim that he has been hiding in hospitals each night. He is apparently afraid that his own military will attempt to assassinate him. (I wonder why!!)
As a result of this information, the UK has decided to deploy 4 Apache helicopters that are more useful in seeking out military equipment in built up areas. The goal is not to assassinate Gadhafi, but it remains a goal to bring about a ceasefire and a settlement.
British diplomatic sources explained: “There’s clearly a link between the upping of the military pressure and what we assess is his state of mind. The more he thinks things are moving against him the better. There is a picture building up of this man who is very paranoid and a regime that’s increasingly feeling under pressure and beginning to fracture.
“The judgment we are making is that it is the right time to turn up the heat and try to make it tell.
“What he is doing is moving from a place we won’t bomb to another place we won’t bomb. The fact that he is moving the whole time shows he is worried about people knowing where he is staying.
“One striking thing is the fact that Gaddafi appears to be moving from hospital to hospital and spending each night in a different hospital. We are getting the sense that a lot of senior commanders have stopped using their phones. They are clearly worried they are being listened to and that is having an impact on their ability to communicate.”
Some of the growing UK pressure may be designed to see if it can extract a more serious ceasefire offer from the regime. So far Sarkozy, Cameron and President Obama have not viewed the repeated offers of an immediate ceasefire as credible.
The implicit threat in the use of the helicopters is that it will be easy to assassinate Gaddafi. But the French foreign minister, Alain Juppe, insisted this was not the plan. “We don’t want to kill him,” he said. “Because we are not killers.”