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As search intensifies, will GADHAFI pull a Saddam? – AP Wire

August 27, 2011

Libyan’s burn a huge poster showing Moammar Gadhafi making the revolution announcement in 1969, below, which is attached to an apartment building wall in Tripoli, Libya, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. Libyan rebel leaders say they have taken control of a strategic border crossing with Tunisia, but are still meeting resistance from regime loyalists along the coastal road between the border and the capital. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

As search intensifies, will Gadhafi pull a Saddam?

Aug 27, 11:28 AM EDT

By KIMBERLY DOZIER

AP Intelligence Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — It took a U.S.-led invasion force of 200,000-plus troops nine months to scour Iraq’s nearly 170,000 square miles before capturing Saddam Hussein after one of the largest manhunts ever.

Now Moammar Gadhafi is on the run in Libya, but chasing after him is a much smaller and less well-equipped force of Libyan rebels. They’re trying to track down a fugitive who, like Saddam, is well-armed, well-funded and capable of winning popular support and sowing instability simply by evading his pursuers.

If the rebels fail to find Gadhafi quickly as they battle to take his hometown of Sirte, they could face more than just a protracted manhunt. His continued evasion could fuel a Gadhafi-led counterinsurgency that bolsters his mythic status and stymies attempts by the rebels’ fledgling government to bring stability and basic services to the country.

Though Gadhafi’s army is dissolving in the face of the NATO-backed onslaught, the rebels have roughly 680,000 square miles to cover, an area several times greater than Iraq.

Helping guide the rebels are fewer than 100 foreign intelligence and special operations operatives. They are backed by a limited number of reconnaissance drones from NATO members, assistance that’s independent of the alliance’s U.N.-authorized mission.

via Daily Record | Morris County NJ | AP Wire.

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