Ten Years Ago – Operation Ellamy

Eleven days before the Foreign Secretary officially reopened Britain’s embassy in Tripoli, I was invited to apply for the post of the Senior British Officer in Libya having worked on the United Nations authorised operation since March 2011.

The tasks in the Chief of Defence Staff’s directive included hunting the three men indicted by the International Criminal Court and the resources to do this included British Special Forces and the UK’s spy plane flying from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Initially, the Ministry of Defence wished to send an officer from the Royal Air Force, but eventually they saw sense and I was put on 48 hours notice to move.

By this time, Colonel Muammar Gadhafi was holed up in his home town of Sirte, where he moved from hideout to hideout in an ever-shrinking pocket held by a dwindling group of loyalist fighters. He swung from rage to despair over his loss of power and finally he made his fatal dash for freedom on 20th October. It was an ignominious ending, which he could have avoided by handing over power six months earlier. After his body was left on public display in Misuratah for four days, he was buried secretly with his son Mutassim and Abu-Bakr Younis Jabr, an original member of the RCC and former head of the army, who was with Gadhafi when he was killed. Meanwhile, the British focus switched to his brother-in-law, the intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi and his son, Saif al-Islam…

Libya 2011

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