Muammar al-Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years. He is likely to stay in power unless he is forcibly removed by his own people, which seems a remote possibility given the resources at his disposal, some say billions in cash, or by the international community, read the United States, which also appears improbable given “Afraq” war weariness reminiscent of the post-Somalia period when inaction led to the deaths of many thousands in Rwanda. And resources are the key to who wins and who loses in these protracted affairs. Witness the ability of another African Big Man, Jonas Savimbi of Angola, to wage a long battle with an oil-rich government even after he lost U.S. and South African backing and his lifeline through Zaire was cut. Savimbi armed and fed a sizeable force, UNITA (National Unity for the Total Independence of Angola), for eight years on proceeds from diamonds and ivory, which netted approximately $500 million annually. At one point 40 flights a week were taking off and landing at his two main airfields in the central highland towns of Luzamba and Andulo. While the internationals tried to broker a peace deal, Savimbi was using South African and other smugglers, based in Namibia and Botswana, to get diamonds out and to get supplies in, including large arms shipments from Bulgaria and Ukraine.

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