Haaretz & DPA:
Former U.S. assistant secretary of state David Welch advised the Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi in August on how to overpower rebels fighting to end his 42-year rule, broadcaster Al Jazeera reported Thursday, citing documents found in Tripoli.
Welch, who brokered a deal to restore diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Libya in 2008, made the advice at a meeting with officials from the Gadhafi regime at a Cairo hotel on August 2, 2011, according to the television report.
It claimed that Welch suggested several “confidence-building measures.”
The alleged document records his advice on how to undermine Libya’s rebel movement, with potential assistance from foreign intelligence agencies, including Israel, according to Al Jazeera.
“Any information related to al-Qaida or other terrorist extremist organisations should be found and given to the American administration but only via the intelligence agencies of either Israel, Egypt, Morroco, or Jordan… America will listen to them… It’s better to receive this information as if it originated from those countries,” the document read, according to Al-Jazeera.
Al Jazeera said one of its correspondents had stumbled upon the document while touring the offices of Libya’s intelligence service in Tripoli after rebels overran it last month.
The Doha-based television reported that Welch purportedly advised the Gadhafi regime to take advantage of the unrest in Syria.
“The importance of taking advantage of the Syrian situation particularly regarding the double-standard policy adopted by Washington … the Syrians were never your friends and you would lose nothing from exploiting the situation there in order to embarrass the West,” the alleged document read.
However, sources close to Welch questioned in remarks published Thursday the validity of the document.
The pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat quoted the unidentified sources as saying that Welch stressed at the meeting the necessity of Gadhafi stepping down.
The sources accused the Libyan officials who Welch met of revising the minutes of the meeting to “tell Gadhafi what he wanted to hear.”
The alleged disclosure coincided with the 42nd anniversary of Gadhafi’s coup.
Meanwhile, two of the Libyan leader’s sons have given very different statements to the press on their readiness to surrender, as the rebel forces appeared to have almost defeated loyalists.
Al-Saadi Gadhafi reportedly called for an end to the bloodshed, and was prepared to consider surrender in return for a guarantee of safety, in an interview with Al Jazeera late Wednesday. But his brother Saif al-Islam was quoted by CNN the same evening as calling on the remaining government troops to “attack the enemy wherever they are,” claiming that “victory is near.”
Both men said they were authorized to speak in the name of their father, whose whereabouts were unconfirmed, although al-Islam claimed he was well and living in a suburb of the capital. The rebels have given the remaining pockets of resistance loyal to the regime until Saturday to surrender.
International leaders were to meet Thursday in Paris to discuss the Libyan situation.