Qaddafi wants a 'people's' army
Tripoli — Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi said he intends to'replace his regular Army with a ''people's militia.'' This is in line with his professed ideological aim of giving power to the people - but political analysts also noted that the 55,000-strong regular Army poses the only possible domestic threat to Colonel Qaddafi's rule. He came to power in a bloodless Army coup in 1969.
''The regular Army will soon disappear, because it is not part of the Jamahiriyah (Libyan) society. . . . It must be done away with and replaced by the armed peoples,'' the Libyan leader said, at a rare news conference here last week. He did not say when the change would occur, and no mention was made of the Air Force or the Navy.
Qaddafi has already replaced the government with ''people's committees,'' embassies with ''people's bureaus,'' and parliament with a General People's Congress. But the effect of this announcement was unclear, and Western diplomats said it was difficult to predict whether the change would ever take place. Qaddafi's populist policies have given him considerable support at home, they said, but the Army had been central to his foreign policy. He has already used it to intercede in Chad, and he has been accused of threatening Sudan.