Libyan Revolution Enters Critical Phase – the Battle for Tripoli

France grants official recognition to rebel Libyan National Council Mar 10
Official from French president’s office says France will send ambassador to Benghazi and receive Libyan envoy in Paris; announcement follows meet between Sarkozy and officials from Libyan National Council.
Battles rage over Libyan cities Mar 10 08:03 GMT
Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi pound Az-Zawiyah and Ras Lanuf as world debates imposition of a no-fly zone.
New air raids hit Libyan oil city Mar 9 23:37 GMT
Strategic city of Ras Lanuf comes under heavy shelling by government forces, with reports of deaths and injuries. Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have launched new air raids on the oil city of Ras Lanuf and are closing in on the western town of Az Zawiyah. See video at article
Founding statement of the Interim Transitional National Council
The Council emphasised that the most important role is the one played by the youth. They were the base of foundation of the revolution and the focal power for the Libyan to reach where they stand today to be able to demand the termination of the dictatorial regime. 7:40pm March 9 The Libyan regime has offered a nearly $500,000 bounty for the capture of the chairman of the opposition National Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, according to state TV.
Arab Countries May Back No-Fly Zone for Libya Within Days, Ambassador Says Mar 9 12:01 EST
The Arab League feels a ”œsense of urgency” over violence in Libya and may call this week for a no-fly zone to shield civilians and rebels from further attacks by Muammar Qaddafi’s forces, the Arab League’s ambassador in Washington said.
Libya oil tanks seen as ‘time bomb’ Mar 9 11:02 GMT
Desperate Gaddafi might hit oil facilities in an attempt to fend off encroaching rebels, sparking a human catastrophe.


Rebels set demands for Gaddafi exit Mar 8 19:00 GMT
Head of Libyan rebels tells Al Jazeera Gaddafi “will not be pursued” if he quits within 72 hours and ends the fighting.
Obama treads carefully on Libya and rebuffs pressure 9:55 EST
The White House pushed back on Monday against rising pressure from some lawmakers for direct intervention in Libya, saying it first wanted to figure out what various military options could achieve.
From Aljazeera Live Blog Mar 7 10:21pm (Libyan time +2 GMT) A polticial activist told Al Jazeera that eight people were killed and more than 20 wounded in Az Zawiayh. He said today’s attacks on the city were the fiercest so far. He said government forces cannot retake the city because the vast majority of the residents are supporting the rebels.
Libyan forces strike back at rebels Mar 7 20:49 GMT

Opposition fighters ask for help to fend off fierce counterattacks by Gaddafi loyalists aiming to retake lost towns.
Libyan Fighting Resembles a Civil War Mar 7 17:15 GMT
Libya fighting resembles civil war Mar 7 17:51 GMT
As Gaddafi’s forces move east in bid to push back rebels and recapture fallen towns, the battle looks set to intensify.
No-fly build-up focuses on Malta Mar 7 17:41 GMT
Military preparations for possible intervention in Libya centres on Mediterranean island.
Gunfire erupts in Libyan capital
Heavy shooting reported in Tripoli, as protests against Muammar Gaddafi’s more than 41-year-old rule continue.
Gaddafi’s men launch counterattack Mar 6 17:20 GMT
Government forces try to retake rebel-held towns along the coast amid reports of shooting in the capital, Tripoli.
Libya rebels repel Gaddafi forces Mar 5 19:52 GMT
More than 30 people killed as opposition fighters force back government troops in western town of Az Zawiyah.
Gaddafi: Fighting for survival?
The investigation is seen as a way to pressure Gaddafi loyalists to defect … but will ICC involvement make the Libyan leader respect human rights or will he just fight harder to avoid prosecution?
Gaddafi fights to regain control Mar 5 07:21 GMT
Embattled Libyan leader launches military and diplomatic offensive in a bid to cling to power as rebels
Fighting rages in Libya’s east Mar 5 0:13 GMT

At least 30 civilians killed after Gaddafi loyalists try to retake rebel-held town of Az Zawiyah, witnesses say.
Libya’s Rebels Reclaim Another Oil Hub in a Day of Clashes Mar 5 3:15 GMT
Libyan rebels pushed their front lines westward to Ras Lanuf, an oil port about halfway to the capital from opposition-stronghold Benghazi, as forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi used tear gas and gunfire to suppress protests in Tripoli.
Italy Could Lose the Most in Libya Unrest Mar 4
With Libya in turmoil and Colonel Qaddafi clinging to power, no country has more at stake than Italy, which finds itself in its most complicated diplomatic position in decades, pulled between its commitment to NATO and human rights and its scramble to protect its investments in a country that has once again become a pariah.
Venezuela says Libya OKs Chavez mediation pla Mar 5 3:25 GMT
Moammar Gadhafi’s government has authorized Venezuela to select countries for an effort to mediate an end to Libya’s crisis and to coordinate the effort, Venezuela’s foreign minister said Friday.
Libyan rebels, Gaddafi forces battle for oil sites Mar 4 4:23 GMT

AL-UQAYLA, Libya, March 4 (Reuters) – Libyan rebels prepared for further attacks by forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi on Friday as both sides struggled for control of a strategic coast road and oil industry facilities.
Libya Rebels Snub Chavez Mediation, Press on Against Qaddafi Mar 4 42 GMT:
Obama says Gaddafi must leave Mar 3 23:53 GMT
US president says he is keeping all options, including military, available to respond to the Libyan crisis.
Evidence of Libya torture emerges Mar 1 23:01
As the opposition roots through prisons, fresh evidence emerges of the government’s use of torture.
Libyan rebels foil attack on Brega Mar 3 2:50 GMT
Untrained fighters defend key oil port against ground and air attack, as Gaddafi loyalists beaten back
Battle rages over Libyan oil port Mar 2 16:12 GMT
The Libyan air force has bombed Brega as fighting between pro-Gaddafi forces and opponents continued
Libyan rebel army prepares for war Mar 2 5:34 GMT
Ragtag units gather and organise themselves to march on the capital, Tripoli, still under Gaddafi’s control.
Top powers split over Libya options Mar 1 20:50 GMT
Russia and France caution against moves to use the military option against Gaddafi.
Gaddafi in bid to reassert control Mar 1 17:31 GMT

Libyan leader dispatches troops to areas in the western part of the country amid mounting pressure from Western leaders
Libyan rebel leaders organising for attack-captain Mar 1 5:35 GMT
AJDABIYAH, Libya, March 1 (Reuters) – Libyan army units which have rebelled against Muammar Gaddafi are organising under a unified council to launch an attack against forces still loyal to the leader, a rebel officer said on Tuesday.
Libyan oil output ‘cut 50 per cent’ Mar 2 1:18 GMT
Industry in chaos as international energy companies scramble to evacuate their staff.
Hillary Clinton: US “Must” Consider Using Military Action in Libya Feb 28
The United States must consider military action in Libya if Muammar Qadhafi’s regime keeps killing people, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday.
Officers Defecting to People’s Revolution Aljazeera Live Blog: Mar 1 1:47 GMT
I, Brigadier Dawood Issa Al Qafsi, declare that I join the Feb 17 revolution. With me are officers, non commissioned officers and soldiers in the Armed Forces units in Ajdabia, Braiga, Bisher, Ogaila, Sultan and Zwaitina … Glory to the martyrs of the revolution … We announce that we join the Libyan Military Council formed in Benghazi.
US repositioning forces around Libya-Pentagon Feb 28
“We have planners working and various contingency plans and I think it’s safe to say as part of that we’re repositioning forces to be able to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made…
The price of war: Gaddafi’s mercenaries paraded at gunpoint as rebels continue to seize Libyan cities Feb 28 23:02 GMT

Clinton urges Gaddafi to step down Feb 28 17:39 GMT
US secretary of state says Gaddafi’s government must be held to account as EU approves new sanctions against Libya.
Protesters march in Tripoli Feb 28 18:06 GMT
A witness said demonstrators quickly dispersed once a brigade of pro-Gaddafi fighters rushed to the scene.
Gaddafi aide ‘to talk to rivals’ Feb 28 18:31 GMT
Move comes even as Libyan opposition sees no room for negotiation with the regime.
Libya rebels, worried they’re outmatched, delay Tripoli push Feb 27

Military commanders in liberated eastern Libya said that while they’re eager to wrest control of the capital…they believe his personal forces are better equipped and trained than their newly cobbled together Libyan People’s Army.
Libya protesters control Zawiyah 02/27 17:23 GMT
Tanks have surrounded Libyan city as residents brace for raid by pro-Gaddafi forces at any moment. Aljazeera
Defiant Gaddafi confined to Tripoli 02/27 17:30 GMT

Libyan leader continues to blame foreigners and al-Qaeda for the unrest that is threatening his 41-year rule.
19:18 GMT Free Ulema – Libya, a network “of some of Libya’s most senior and most respected Muslim Religious Scholars …” have released a press statement “endorsing and supporting the sequence of Declarations of the Revolution of February 17th, 2011…”
Libyan transitional council formed Feb 27 19:24 GMT

Libyan protest leaders have established a transitional “national council” in cities seized from Muammar Gaddafi, as world leaders call on him to quit and protesters close in on Tripoli.
Libya ‘lacks chemical arms ability’ Feb 27 18:12 GMT

Libya retains deadly mustard gas but has no weapons to deliver it, watchdog enforcing a ban on chemical weapons says.
Inside Gaddafi’s inner circle Feb 27 23:36 GMT

A look at the people Muammar Gaddafi relies on to entrench his rule and to remain in power in Libya.
Tunis PM Announces His Resignation Feb 27 18:38 GMT
Mohammed Ghannouchi says he will step down following deaths during anti-government protests.
UN Council slaps sanctions on Libya’s Gadhafi, Refers Case to International Court Feb 27 18:10 GMT
Clinton: US ready to aid to Libyan opposition Feb 27 2:10 pm EDT
Chaos in Libya stirs global panic over oil supplies; Uncertainty could last weeks, even months Feb 27 2:17 EDT
Libya’s revolution headquarters Feb 27 6:36 GMT

Benghazi, the de facto capital of the opposition, is where much of anti-Gaddafi actions are co-ordinated and executed.
Expats flee chaotic Libya en masse Feb 27 1:06 GMT
Thousands camp outside Tripoli’s airport for days on little more than bread and water in the hope of leaving.

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Michael Collins

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  • Qaddafi has unleashed a reign of terror against his own people. We are probably now in the early stages of this thing. It will take time for a resistance movement to coalesce and develop tactics. It will be easy for Libyans to identify the mercenaries, but fighting the Libyan army units loyal to Qaddafi will be altogether different. They will probably begin taking lessons from the Iraqi insurgency, which means IEDs as the weapon of choice. Obviously it will be in Qaddafi’s interest to wrap this up as quickly as possible to avoid the establishment of an organized insurgency, which is why he is using terror tactics. On the other hand, these tactics, with the brutality and the number of protesters killed, may make it too late; the population may be irretrievably set against the regime and willing to work for the long haul to get rid of Qaddafi. That seems to me the more likely outcome, which is going to start putting pressure on Libya’s neighbors like Algeria and Egypt to take sides in this battle.

  • Libyans Will Liberate Libya By Hasan Zillur Rahim Feb 26
    Irrespective of race or religion, we must support the brave Libyans fighting to “win or die” against Gadhafi. The Libyans themselves can, and will, defeat Gadhafi and his band of criminals. We urge the U.S., the U.N., the EU, and other nations to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and apply stiff sanctions to stop this madman from slaughtering his own people. We summon The Hague and demand that a trial commence immediately against Gadhafi for crimes against humanity, for what is taking place in Libya now is nothing less than genocide.
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  • Amazing isn’t it. A real revolutionary movement without a leader. This is a larger version of the very well executed Latino May Day protests of a few years ago. Who led that? I know one of the originators of the idea but he doesn’t even want his name mentioned. That’s why this is so extraordinary – it’s a people’s revolution. That makes it even more unique since groups generally have a lower moral quotient than individuals. But in this case, the masses are right on the moral issue, as well as politically.

    Egypt really should send some forces, as you said. That is the most appropriate response. The Egypt-Libya border war of 1977 was a route when Egypt send 3 divisions. With Qaddfi holding just Tripoli, the prospects would be good.

    Who needs al Qaeda indeed? And who needs fascism when you have Scott Walker?

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  • 10:20pm Libyan Time (GMT + 2)

    Media advisory issued by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) – a civil society network in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC and improved access to justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – issued in relation to the referral by the Security Council of the United Nations (UNSC) of the situation in Libya to the ICC.

    Aljazeera Live Blog Feb 27

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  • violence as a revolutionary tool is becoming increasingly obsolete. To a large extent it because of the destruction of real infrastructure by violent revolutions and counter-revolutions in increasingly technological and globalized economies.

    Of course, these are easy target revolutions. Obvious long term tyrants needing to meet simple resignation demands. When the tyranny rests in corporate ownership structures reinforced by sophisticated media, generating the required by-in by sufficient relevant populations becomes much more difficult.

    Still what blows my mind is that even with several decades of anti-union propaganda as well as de-population of union membership, the U.S. public still comes out in favor of the Wisconsin unions by actual majorities.

  • “When the tyranny rests in corporate ownership structures reinforced by sophisticated media, generating the required by-in by sufficient relevant populations becomes much more difficult.” And nobody likes the corporations.

    I’m not surprised that the people support the Wisconsin teachers. Despite the information beat down, a majority generally makes decent decisions (like both parties opposing Iraq w/out sanctions – but before Mr. Scary showed up with WMD). That is great news. Hadn’t seen the polls yet.
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  • “On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to wage and benefit issues, however, they break with the Governor, opposing the proposal by 41-54.”

    “As Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) continues to push for a bill that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for almost all of the state’s employees, a Gallup/USA Today poll taken amid the standoff finds that most Americans would oppose a similar measure in their own state.

    In the poll, 61% of adults nationwide said that they would oppose a law that would take away some collective bargaining rights for state employees, including teachers. Only one third, 33%, said that they
    would support that measure if it were proposed in their state.”

  • I share his goal.

    Other than the report itself, this IMF statement first appeared here.

    The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable.
    International Monetary Fund, February 15, 2011

    The IMF responded quickly to Libya. Without mentioning the Feb 15 endorsement of the Libyan economy, an IMF official made a point they might have thought of before their work with Qaddafi. It is hard to believe that the sentiments will filter their way into their official policies, but who knows.
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  • McClatchy

    Military commanders in liberated eastern Libya said that while they’re eager to wrest control of the capital, Tripoli, from dictator Moammar Gadhafi, they believe his personal forces are better equipped and trained than their newly cobbled together Libyan People’s Army. The rebel army’s lack of confidence may portend a protracted and bloody battle for the capital.

  • real fast. Send in an army … anybody but the Americans, as an American politician said on Al Jazeera.

    Sexual inequality is “The Mother of all Inequalities”.
    Liberate female sexuality and you will eliminate racism, homophobia, financial greed, and violence.

  • Here are two soruces on the Libyan armed forces, which total 119,000. The Army has about 50,000 personnel. Unmentioned in either of these sources (that I saw anyway) is the explanation for the McCaltchy report, the hesitation of anti Gaddafi military to attack Tripoli. Aljazeera had a commentator on today who noted that the bulk of Libya’s military power is in the People’s Milita and special guard units, both of which are intensely loyal to Gaddafi. The dictator has cut the Army short on supplies and created an interlocking structure of command that works against cohesion. This is intentional, the expert noted, because Gaddafi wants the power in the special forces loyal to him.

    That would explain the judgment of the military leader in Benghazi who said they might be outmatched. They may well be, for the time being anyway.

    Libya Military Guide

    Libyan Military

    The Libyan Armed Forces consist of the Libyan Army, Libyan Air Force and the Libyan Navy with other services which include the People’s Militia. The total number of Libyan personnel is estimated at 119,000
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  • By Tom Pfeiffer

    BENGHAZI, Libya | Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:20pm GMT

    BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – A general in eastern Libya who has mutinied against Muammar Gaddafi rule said his forces stood ready to help rebels fighting in Tripoli if called on to do so, but he rejected any need for foreign assistance.

    The Libyan leader lost control on the east swiftly after the eruption of protests against his rule on February 15. Rebels in the eastern city of Benghazi have created a national council and have pledged to support those still fighting Gaddafi’s rule.

    “Our brothers in Tripoli say: “We are fine so far, we do not need help’. If they ask for help we are ready to move,” said General Ahmed el-Gatrani, one of most senior figures in the army in Benghazi which no longer swears allegiance to Gaddafi.

    Residents of Benghazi say that hundreds of people from the city have already headed to Tripoli to support the effort to seize control of the capital from Gaddafi. Gatrani indicated the army would only move if called on by rebel commanders there.

    The extent to which rebel army units engage with hardline Gaddafi loyalists is a key factor in how long conflict may last.


    “In Tripoli they (Gaddafi loyalists) still control one unit but it will be with the people soon,” he told Reuters, without giving a source for his information. “All orders he gives to the air force, they are refusing his instructions.

    “He only has a couple of units in the areas he still controls and the rest are with us. Tripoli is being held hostage,” he said, adding that Sirte, Gaddafi’s home town which lies roughly between Benghazi and Tripoli, was also falling. …


    Rebels holding Zawiyah, only 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, said about 2,000 troops loyal to Gaddafi had surrounded the city.

    “We will do our best to fight them off. They will attack soon,” said a former police major who switched sides and joined the rebellion. “If we are fighting for freedom, we are ready to die for it.”

    Gaddafi is fighting a rebellion which has swept through his Mediterranean oil producing nation after uprisings toppled entrenched leaders in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt. His fierce crackdown has killed hundreds, triggering U.N. sanctions and Western condemnation, but has not turned the tide of protests.

    Residents even in parts of the capital Tripoli have thrown up barricades against government forces. A general in the east of the country, where Gaddafi’s power has evaporated, told Reuters his forces were ready to help rebels in the west.

    “Our brothers in Tripoli say: ‘We are fine so far, we do not need help’. If they ask for help we are ready to move,” said General Ahmed el-Gatrani, one of most senior figures in the mutinous army in Benghazi.

    Analysts say they expect rebels eventually to take the capital and kill or capture Gaddafi, but add that he has the firepower to foment chaos or civil war — a prospect he and his sons have warned of.

  • AP/CBC, February 28

    ‘Gadhafi and those around him must be held accountable,’ Clinton says

    The U.S. military is repositioning its naval and air forces around Libya to provide “flexibility once decisions are made,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

    Col. David Lapan told Reuters also said there are “various contingency plans” in place for the North African country, where longtime leader Moammar Ghadafi’s forces and rebels in the east remain locked in a tense standoff.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kept up pressure for Gadhafi to step down, and told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday that “nothing is off the table” as long as Gadhafi threatens Libya’s citizens.

    “Gadhafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency,” Clinton said.

    The Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. is also sending aid teams to Libya’s borders with Egypt and Algeria to help refugees.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • The Guardian, By Julian Borger, Patrick Wintour & Martin Chulov, February 28

    Naval and air forces close in on Libya as David Cameron plans no-fly zone to protect civilians

    Benghazi – The west is edging towards a possible military confrontation with Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, as the US deployed naval and air force units around Libya, and David Cameron ordered contingency plans for a no-fly zone.

    The prime minister said he had told the Ministry of Defence and the chief of the defence staff to draw up the plans in coordination with Britain’s Nato allies and report back to him within days.

    A no-fly zone would be designed principally to prevent attacks on Libyan people by the Gaddafi regime – mainly by his helicopter gun ships.

    Cameron suggested the UK might even consider arming the Libyan opposition forces if Tripoli used more violence to crush demonstrations.

    Officials said discussions on a range of possible military options had begun last week between British and US officials at the Pentagon. They said that the support of US and British armed forces might also be required to protect corridors to channel humanitarian relief into Libya through Tunisia and Egypt if further conflict brought about a mass displacement of the population and a collapse in the food supply.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Nice work Nelson. That clears up a little confusion about the purity of the revolution. While absent the rhetoric of fake Marxist Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, it is more devastating. Ortega isn’t killing anyone with his words. Many are being murdered by Gaddafi’s security forces with those sniper rifles, it’s fair to assume.

    The ‘mubaraking’ of Gaddafi, Maliki, Mugabe and others by South African activist and commentator Patrick Bond

    “Sorry, don’t expect peace promotion from the African National Congress government in South Africa. Late 2010, the chair of South Africa’s National Conventional Arms Control Committee, justice minister Jeff Radebe, approved the sale of 100 South African sniper rifles and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition to Gaddafi. Any references to human rights in the committee’s deliberations are already considered a joke, but Radebe may now have some serious bloodstains on his reputation.”

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  • The independent
    Tuesday, 1 March 2011

    Residents of the rebel-held city closest to Libya’s capital passed out sweets and cold drinks to fighters today and celebrated with a victory march after they managed to repel an overnight attack by pro-Gaddafi forces.

    “Allahu Akbar (God is Great) for our victory,” residents of Zawiya chanted as they paraded through the city’s main square. Some carried on their shoulders an air force colonel they said had just defected to the rebels’ side.

    Witnesses said pro-Gaddafi forces battled rebels for six hours overnight but could not retake control of the city 30 miles west of Tripoli. They said there the last of several assaults by the Gaddafi loyalists came at around 3am.

    “We were worried about air raids but that did not happen,” said one resident.

    The Zawiya rebels, who include mutinous army forces, are armed with tanks, machine guns and anti-aircraft guns. They fought back pro-Gaddafi troops, armed with the same weapons, who attacked from six directions. There was no word on casualties.

    “We will not give up Zawiya at any price,” said one witness. “We know it is significant strategically. They will fight to get it, but we will not give up. We managed to defeat them because our spirits are high and their spirits are zero.”

    The witnesses in Zawiya said youths from the city were stationed on the rooftops of high-rise buildings in the city to monitor the movements of the pro-Gaddafi forces and sound the warning if they though an attack was imminent. They also spoke about generous offers of cash by the regime for the rebels to hand control of the city back to authorities.

    Since the revolt against Gaddafi’s 41-year-old rule began two weeks ago, his regime has launched the harshest crackdown in the Arab world where authoritarian rulers are facing an unprecedented wave of uprisings. Gaddafi has already lost control of the eastern half of the country and at least two cities close to the capital — Zawiya and Misrata. He still holds the capital Tripoli and other nearby cities.

    The UN refugee agency UNHCR says more than 110,000 people, mainly foreign migrants, have fled Libya to neighbouring countries and thousands more are arriving at the borders.

    International pressure to end the crackdown has escalated dramatically in the past few days. The US moved naval and air forces closer to Libya on Monday and said all options were open, including patrols of the North African nation’s skies to protect its citizens from their ruler. The Obama administration is demanding that Gaddafi relinquish power immediately.

    France said it would fly aid to the opposition-controlled eastern half of the country. The European Union imposed an arms embargo and other sanctions, following the lead of the US and the UN The EU was also considering the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya. And the US and Europe were freezing billions in Libya’s foreign assets.

    Pro-Gaddafi forces also tried on Monday night to retake opposition-held Misrata, Libya’s third-largest city 125 miles east of Tripoli. Rebel forces there also repelled the attackers.

    In Misrata, pro-Gaddafi troops who control part of an air base on the city’s outskirts tried to advance on Monday. But they were repulsed by opposition forces, who included residents with automatic weapons and defected army units allied with them, one of the opposition fighters said.

    No casualties were reported and the fighter claimed that his side had captured eight soldiers, including a senior officer.

    The opposition controls most of the air base, and the fighter said dozens of anti-Gaddafi gunmen have arrived from farther east in recent days as reinforcements.

    In Zawiya, an Associated Press reporter saw a large, pro-Gaddafi force massed on the western edge of the city on Monday night, with about a dozen armoured vehicles along with tanks and jeeps mounted with anti-aircraft guns.

    An officer said they were from the elite Khamis Brigade, named after one of Gadhafi’s sons who commands it. US diplomats have said the brigade is the best-equipped force in Libya.

    “We were able to repulse the attack. We damaged a tank with an RPG. The mercenaries fled after that,” said a resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

    He said Gaddafi called Zawiya’s influential tribal leader Mohammed al-Maktouf and had warned him that if the rebels don’t leave the city’s main square by early today, they will be hit by warplanes.

    Residents of Tripoli said the city was calm today but that some residents were anxious over what is seen there as a growing chance of foreign intervention.

    “People are worried about foreign intervention,” said one resident. “Many Libyans see this as a conspiracy that will lead into dividing Libya to an eastern and western sectors. There will be massacres.”

    Today, Gaddafi’s regime sought to show that it was the country’s only legitimate authority and that it continued to feel compassion for areas in the east that fell under the control of its opponents.

    A total of 18 trucks loaded with rice, wheat-flour, sugar and eggs left Tripoli for Benghazi, the country’s second largest city 620 miles east of the capital. Also in the convoy were two refrigerated cars carrying medical supplies.

    The convoy was met with a small pro-Gaddafi demonstration as it made its way out of Tripoli. “God, Gaddafi, Libya and that’s it,” chanted the demonstrators.

    “The state is very generous with the people,” said 22-year-old Ahmed Mahmoud as he watched the convoy.

    In Benghazi, the epicentre of the opposition-controlled east, activists said they had no objection to the imposition of a no-fly zone over eastern Libya, but were divided whether to accept relief from the Gaddafi regime.

    “Gaddafi’s air force is a serious threat to us,” said lawyer Nasser Bin Nour. “We will welcome a no-fly zone on Gaddafi’s warplanes over the whole of Libya. The only thing we object to is foreign troops on Libyan soil.” said Bin Nour, who said many in the city would not oppose shelling the positions of pro-Gaddafi forces by foreign warships or planes.

    Another Benghazi activist, Najlaa al-Manqoush, echoed Bin Nour’s comments on foreign aid, but pointed out that accept the relief supplies sent today by the regime would help Gaddafi’s propaganda machine.

    “We reject any attempt by the regime to beautify its image in the media,” she said. “We are much smarter than that. We accept all the aid they send us from friendly nations, but not from Gaddafi.”

    Query: The Web Go



    CAIRO — Living conditions worsened in Libya and aid groups warned of a growing humanitarian crisis Tuesday as the battle between rebels and forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi shut down transportation, kept businesses closed and forced people to stay in their homes.

    Conditions were particularly dire in rebel-held Zawiya, a city west of Tripoli where anti-Gadhafi protesters have fought back bloody government counterattacks for nearly a week. Residents reached by phone said pro-Gadhafi forces had set up checkpoints on the city’s east and west sides, halting the flow of food and medicine.
    A Zawiya resident who gave only his first name, Tarek, for his own protection, told McClatchy Newspapers by telephone that baby formula and other vital items were in short supply.

    “They’re trying to starve us to death,” he said.

    Aid workers also reported dismal conditions at Libya’s borders, especially among migrant workers stuck at the western border with Tunisia. TV footage from the Libyan-Tunisian border Tuesday showed hundreds of weakened refugees clamoring for handouts of high-energy biscuits from the U.N.’s World Food Program.

    Elsewhere in the Arab world, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Yemen and Bahrain for a fresh wave of demonstrations in the collective anti-government rebellion that’s rocked the Middle East and alarmed Western powers.

    In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned the House Foreign Affairs Committee not to cut the administration’s foreign affairs budget and a senior military commander cautioned that enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya to protect anti-regime protesters “would be challenging” and would have to involve airstrikes on the Gadhafi regime’s air defenses.

    “You would have to remove the air defense capability in order to establish the no-fly zone. So it – no illusions here – it would be a military operation,” Marine Gen. James Mattis, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It wouldn’t simply be telling people not to fly airplanes.”

    Clinton said the entire Middle East was changing. “A strong and strategic American response will be essential,” she said.

    She cautioned that the outcome in Libya is anything but clear.

    “In the years ahead, Libya could become a peaceful democracy or it could face protracted civil war or it could descend into chaos. The stakes are high,” she said.

    Read more:

  • Gearing Up To Guard Libyan Assets Aljazeera
    Ajdabiya, Libya – On Monday afternoon, Libyan military jets reportedly bombed a weapons depot somewhere near the opposition-held town of Ajdabiya, a little more than 160km south of Benghazi, the stable heart of the uprising in this country.

    At a checkpoint on the outskirts of town, with several plumes of smoke rising in different directions along the flat, desert horizon, agitated rebels scurried around confiscated anti-aircraft guns, brandishing pistols and AK-47 assault rifles.

    One man, his face strained with emotion, yelled that “many” had been killed in the air strike inside Ajdabiya itself. Others sped down the road away from town, saying the planes had hit the depot. Still more pointed to a plume of smoke to the north and claimed al-Zuwatina, a nearby oil field, had been attacked.

    Inside the town, residents said there had been no air strike. Later, rebel officers in Benghazi claimed their anti-aircraft fire had scared off incoming jets. Reporters who visited the Ajdabiya depot described a large crater in the dirt; either the fighter pilots were terrible shots, or they had intended to miss their target.
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  • A mass evacuation eastward is triggered. Rebel fighters describe it as an upcoming attempt to retake the Libyan desert outpost of Bin Jawwad.

    Los Angeles Times, By David Zucchino, March 7

    Ras Lanuf, Libya — Libyan government warplanes struck again at rebels clinging to a key oil complex in Ras Lanuf on Monday, sending residents of the desert city into a panic and triggering a mass evacuation eastward.

    Fighters loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi remained in control of the desert outpost of Bin Jawwad, which they seized from rebels fighters in a surprise counterattack Sunday. The two sides skirmished Monday along a 27-mile stretch of sand-swept road along the Mediterranean between Bin Jawwad and the oil complex.

    Rebels in gun trucks and private cars clogged a checkpoint across from the sprawling oil complex, massing for what they described as an upcoming attempt to retake Bin Jawwad.

    Just after 4 p.m., a jet fighter launched a missile that demolished a white Mitsubishi with an explosion that shook the desert floor and struck a Libyan family trying to flee the oil complex.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Gaddafi forces attack rebels anew, even as regime appears to seek talks

    Washington Post, By Steve Hendrix, Leila Fadel & Debbi Wilgoren, March 7

    BENGHAZI, LIBYA – Libyan forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi attacked rebel-held areas again on Monday, bombing the oil terminal of Ras Lanuf and battling to maintain control of a Mediterranean coastal town farther west, the opposition reported.

    But even as loyalist troops tried to reverse the rebels’ territorial gains, a former Libyan prime minister appeared on the state-controlled television station and called for negotiations to end the weeks-long uprising.

    In Washington, President Obama warned Libyan officials close to Gaddafi that they would share the blame for “unacceptable” violence against civilians, and he noted that NATO is holding consultations in Brussels on a wide range of options, “including potential military options.”

    Saying he was sending a message to those around Gaddafi, Obama said after a meeting with the visiting Australian prime minister: “It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward, and they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place.” He also said he wants the Libyan people to know “that we will stand with them in the face of unwarranted violence and the continued suppression of democratic ideals that we’ve seen there.”

    Also, CSM: Welcome to the Libyan front. Have a juice box.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • [Free grains of salt!]

    India sending 3 warships in support , Gadhafi vows to ‘triumph over enemy’

    The Pakistan Observer, By Akhtar Jamal, March 8

    Islamabad — The United States, Britain and France have sent several hundred “defence advisors” to train and support the anti-Gadhafi forces in oil-rich Eastern Libya where “rebels armed groups” have apparently taken over.

    According to an exclusive report confirmed by a Libyan diplomat in the region “the three Western states have landed their “special forces troops in Cyrinacia and are now setting up their bases and training centres” to reinforce the rebel forces who are resisting pro-Qaddafi forces in several adjoining areas.

    A Libyan official who requested not to be identified said that the U.S. and British military gurus were sent on February 23 and 24 night through American and French warships and small naval boats off Libyan ports of Benghazi and Tobruk.

    The Western forces are reportedly preparing to set-up training bases for local militias set-up by the rebel forces for an effective control of the oil-rich region and counter any push by pro- Qaddafi forces from Tripoli.

    Other reports claim that efforts to “neutralize” the Libyan Air Force were also underway to limit Qaddafi’s rule in Tripoli if not fully uprooted from the country.

    Meanwhile, three Indian Navy warships, are also being dispatched to be deployed in the rebel-held areas of Libya.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Propublica, By Marian Wong, March 8

    As we’ve noted, the United States last month imposed unilateral sanctions on Libya, including a suspension of “all existing licenses and other approvals for the export of defense articles and services to Libya.” The State Department had described the U.S. defense trade with Libya as “very limited.”

    Still, The Associated Press reported yesterday that in the months before Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi began a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters, the State Department had approved a $77 million deal to provide armored troop carriers that were highly sought after by the Qaddafi regime:


    The deal was stalled due to concerns from lawmakers, according to the AP. The State Department told the AP that the proposed export license had been suspended as part of sanctions against Libya.

    Had it gone through, the deal would have provided armored vehicles to transport Libyan soldiers. Though the U.S. has said it will not sell lethal U.S. arms to Libya, the armored vehicles were considered non-lethal.


    But now, as Qaddafi’s soldiers and mercenaries fight to win back control in cities across the country, the United States has said it will consider whether to provide arms or other military assistance to the opposition forces.

    “It is one of the range of options that is being considered,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Monday. He also warned against “getting ahead of ourselves. … It would be premature to send a bunch of weapons to a post office box in eastern Libya.”

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Los Angeles Times, By Borzou Daragahi, March 8th

    State TV reports that Maj. Gen. Khalid Shahmah has switched sides. Meanwhile, government officials deny rumors that Moammar Kadafi will resign.

    Tripoli – A Libyan general has switched sides in one of two fiercely contested western cities that have been strongholds of the opposition to Moammar Kadafi, state television said Tuesday.

    Fierce fighting continued in the city of Zawiya, which has emerged as one of two key battlegrounds in the area around the capital, Tripoli. Although Kadafi controls the capital, his opponents have seized much of the eastern part of the country and are working on forming a competing government.

    In an “urgent” on-screen caption, a state-controlled television station reported that Maj. Gen. Khalid Shahmah had joined the rebels in Zawiya. It did not further identify the general or clarify his role in the military.

    Droves of officials have defected from Kadafi’s regime. On Tuesday, Musa Kuni, former consul general to the nearby country of Mali, appealed to Libyans of ethnic Tuareg descent like him to join the opposition.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Excellent additions to the thread Raja. This last one is something I see more and more of. Gaddafi’s officers and pilots saying, no more. He will be alone on the field saying, ‘My kingdom for a plane.’

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  • Map Source>

    The Interim Transitional Council – Libya

    Founding statement of the Interim Transitional National Council

    The Interim Transitional National Council (The council) held its first meeting on Saturday 5th of March 2011 in the city of Benghazi, the temporary location, till the liberation of Tripoli the Capital City and the permanent location of The Council.

    The Council derives its legitimacy from the city councils who run the liberated cities, and who had been formed by the revolution of the 17th February to fulfil the revolutionary gains in order to achieve their goals. The Council is headed by Mr Mustafa Abdeljeleel and the meeting is attended by:

    1. Mr. Othman Suleiman El-Megyrahi (Batnan Area)
    2. Mr. Ashour Hamed Bourashed (Darna City)
    3. Dr. Abdelallah Moussa El-myehoub (Qouba Area)
    4. Mr. Zubiar Ahmed El-Sharif (Representative of the political prisoners)
    5. Mr. Ahmed Abduraba Al-Abaar (Benghazi City)
    6. Mr.Dr. Fathi Mohamed Baja (Benghazi City)
    7. Mr. Abdelhafed Abdelkader Ghoga (Benghazi City)
    8. Mr Fathi Tirbil and Dr. Salwa Fawzi El-Deghali (Representative of youth and women)

    The council concluded the following:

    1. The Council emphasised that the most important role is the one played by the youth. They were the base of foundation of the revolution and the focal power for the Libyan to reach where they stand today to be able to demand the termination of the dictatorial regime.
    2. The Council Declares that it is the sole representative of all Libya with its different social and political strata and all its geographical sections. Its membership is open to all Libyans and thus received the members of the following cities: Misurata, Zentan, Zawya, Zwara, ,Nalout, El-Jabel El-Gharbi (West Mountain) Gaat, and Kufra and their names will not be declared for safety reasons till the liberation of all Libya. The council is waiting for the delegations from Tripoli , the south Areas and Middle areas of Libya to join it.
    3. The council declares Mr. Omer El-Hariri as its representative of the Military Affairs for Safety and Security of Libya.
    4. The Council also declares the information of the Executive Team to administrate the crisis and to deal with currant situations. The function of the Executive Team is to run all foreign matters and to represent the foreign affairs of Libya. It is headed by Dr. Mohamed Jebril Ibrahim El-Werfali and Dr Aziz Al-Eisawi as the reprehensive of the Foreign affairs of Libya. The council declares that there will be more members to the Executive Team to run the main vital sectors of the country after further discussions between the head of the Executive Team and the Council.

    The council delegates to Dr. Mohamed Jebril and Dr Ali El-Esawi the right to negotiate and communicate with all members of international communities to accomplish international recognition of all the Council, and both members have the right to take all the necessary measures to reach this goal.

    The council affirms that all Libyan delegations to the UN, Arab League, International and regional organizations and members of all the Libyan embassies who joined the revolution are considered legitimate representatives of the Council. The other representatives of the fallen regime should take the above stance.

    Finally, even though the balance of power is uneven between the defenceless protestors and the tyrant regime’s mercenaries and private battalions, we will relay on the will of our people for a free and dignified existence. Furthermore, we request from the international community to fulfil its obligations to protect the Libyan people from any further genocide and crimes against humanity without any direct military intervention on Libya soil.

    Long live Libya, free and united
    The Interim Transitional National Council
    5th of March 2011
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