Ian Black in The Guardian yesterday wrote about the various tactics Gaddafi forces employ to prevent NATO air strikes against them. They deliberately hide near or in civilian buildings where NATO would fear causing collateral damage. Now, it seems, Gaddafi’s tanks are also hiding inside the water tunnels.
“Muammar Gaddafi has always flaunted the Great Man-Made River project as one of the many wonders of his 41-year rule – and as one of the wonders of the modern world. The largest and most expensive irrigation project in history, costing a whopping $33bn, it extracts water from beneath the Sahara at a depth of 1,600 to 2,500ft, purifies it and transports it to the Mediterranean coast where most of Libya’s 6.5m people live. But are its huge concrete tunnels also coming in handy to keep Libyan tanks and missiles out of sight of Nato air attacks?
Western intelligence officials have now suggested that the concealment of heavy weapons in the 15ft-wide tunnels is causing them problems – not least because strategic targets like these, which Britain and France would like to hit, fall outside what was agreed by the UN security council to protect Libyan civilians.
Claims of weapons and, according to some reports, gold bullion hidden in the GMMR’s tunnels conjures up a Bond villain-type scenario. But there is evidence that Gaddafi has gone underground before. In the mid-1990s facilities built by North Korean workers at Tarhuna, 50 miles south-east of Tripoli, were used to house chemical weapons factories in the side of a mountain and were protected by a thick layer of reinforced concrete. Libya claimed at the time that those tunnels were innocent and formed part of the GMMR.”
Read the full article here.