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Libya Military Criticized by Key Newspaper

April 27, 1986|United Press International

TRIPOLI, Libya — An extraordinary editorial attack on the performance of the Libyan military during the April 15 U.S. bombing appears to have come from Col. Moammar Kadafi and may indicate an impending shakeup in the government, diplomats said Saturday.

Disciplinary measures are being taken against military officers who did not carry out their duties during the U.S. raid on Tripoli and Benghazi, a West European diplomat said.

And an East Bloc source predicted that top officials in the Information Ministry and that the army will be ousted.

The Libyan anti-aircraft defenses did not start firing until 10 minutes after U.S. jets began bombing the capital, and Tripoli's lights stayed on throughout the assault, helping illuminate targets for the U.S. warplanes.

During the crisis, the East Bloc source said, some senior officers fled with their families and failed to show up at their posts.

"We have to re-examine ourselves to see how we were behaving hour-by-hour during the crisis--who was confused and who panicked, who made mistakes, who ran away and who stood firm," said the editorial in the weekly Jamahiriya newspaper, published Friday.

"The Jamahiriya (Kadafi's name for his country, which translates as "state of the masses") has reached the point that it must put its house in order," the editorial said.

Voice of Revolutionary Guards

The publication is closely watched in Libya as the voice of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, placed in every branch of the government as a form of parallel authority to the regular government structures.

Such an admission that things went wrong is extraordinary in Libya, where the state controls newspapers, radio and television.

The editorial was written by Said Khadaseddem, who is related to Kadafi--an indication that the message came directly from the Libyan leader, a West European diplomat said.

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