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A Libyan Insurgency?

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Spencer Ackerman sees signs that a Libyan insurgency may be taking root:

Fighters loyal to Gadhafi killed 17 guards at an oil refinery near Ras Lunuf on Monday. They drove to the refinery in a convoy of more than a dozen vehicles. Witnesses reported that the attackers used hand grenades to kill the guards.

And the attack occurred less than two hours after Libya’s post-Gadhafi oil minister announced limited oil production had resumed. The refinery itself was undamaged, though it’s unclear if that’s by design or incompetence. Still, the message sent seems clear: Gadhafi loyalists will target the revolutionary government’s ability to exploit the sources of Libyan wealth, weakening its ability to stabilize the country. Then, presumably, comes the restoration.

That last part may be unrealistic, given how deeply Gadhafi is hated in Libya. But in the near term, all that Team Gadhafi needs to do is distance the people from the Transitional National Council. And the revolutionaries may not make that difficult.

One thing to watch here is the regional environment. Insurgencies often rage because neighboring states fuel it, or are unwilling (or unable) to prevent their territory from being used as as a staging ground. Pakistan plays that role in Afghanistan and Syria and Iran played that role in Iraq. Would countries like Chad, Niger or Sudan sustain a Gaddafi insurgency were one to take root?

(AP Photo)