War in Libya – Libya and World – News (March to July 2011)
Libya: shaky balance of power.
Apr 1, 2011
The situation in volatile Libya remains unclear.
According to BBC reports, the frontline is now in the Marsa el-Brega oil seaport.
Gaddafi’s troops are shelling the large western city of Misurata still controlled by the opposition.
They have also regained control over several oil ports in the east.
The main battles are now 40 km to the east of Ajdabiya.
More Gaddafi loyalists abandon ship
Apparently inspired by Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa’s defection, Libya’s oil, intelligence and deputy foreign ministers are also prepared to follow his lead. All the three are now at a Tunis airport waiting for a flight to the West.
On Wednesday Moussa Koussa arrived in London on a private jet and said he was no longer willing to represent Gaddafi’s regime in the world.
The US sees his defection as a sign that the western-led coalition is headed for victory.
Libyan rebels launch TV channel
The Libyan rebels have launched an anti-Gaddafi television channel from facilities in Doha in Qatar.
Gaddafi will probably try to jam it, similarly to other foreign-based networks that are critical of his rule.
Rebels lose ground as NATO advances in Libyan offensive
Libyan rebels are losing ground to Gaddafi forces. In recent days the opposition troops were forced from Tripoli, Ras Lanuf, Brega and Bin Jawad.
Rebels are fleeing towns they seized almost without a fight last Sunday under cover of the coalition forces as government troops launch offensive using military hardware. On Tuesday the insurgents lost the western support and now have to retreat eastward, to Benghazi. The city was under insurgent control before the coalition forces, comprising the US, Great Britain and France, launched their first offensive against Gaddafi forces.
Now that three major oil ports are lost to the government forces, the coalition no longer trusts the insurgents. The EU expected Libya to resume oil exports via Qatar this week.
Last night French warplanes attacked several munitions depots outside Tripoli. Explosions took place near Muammar Gaddafi`s residence. However, it is hardly that rebels will manage to seize Tripoli or Gaddafi`s hometown of Sirte. Meanwhile, the rebels are being forced out from Misrata despite the fact that the US military attacked three Libyan ships in this port.
Evidently, the insurgent troops are not as technically sophisticated as Gaddafi`s army. They want the West to provide them with arms, not just moral support. But arms supplies would violate the UN Security Council`s resolutions. However, France and Italy say they are ready to discuss the issue with the rebels.
There is a risk that Al-Qaeda supporters might seize the arms in case the West decides to help the insurgents. NATO intelligence agency says Al-Qaeda members might be among Libyan opposition supporters. The UK-based counter-extremism think tank Quilliam insists that the current situation in Libya may result in an outbreak of extremist violence. Russian political analysts Georgy Mirsky shares this opinion:
“Certainly, Islamists will be gaining even more support in Libya. Now we cannot say for sure that in case the insurgents win, they won`t sympathize with extremists, including Al-Qaeda militants who were not welcome under Gaddafi. Things are quite likely to unfold like it was in Iraq, where Al-Qaeda was banned under Saddam Hussein but later set up one of its major branches in the region.”
This should be a warning to NATO forces against supporting insurgents in any way. Otherwise, Al-Qaeda will take control of Libya.
Gaddafi’s troops shelling Misurata again
The troops of Muammar Gadaffi have resumed the shelling the city of Misurata held by the rebels, Reuters reports.
On Saturday, the shelling was stopped by the air attacks of NATO coalition forces.
Earlier Sunday, NATO forces have also bombed the positions of Gaddafi’s troops in Ajdabiya and Marsa-el-Brega killing dozens of servicemen and peaceful citizens.
NATO decides to take full command of Libya mission
BRUSSELS, March 27 (Xinhua) — NATO’s top decision-making body has decided to take over command of all military operations against Libya from the United States, a NATO official told Xinhua on Sunday.
NATO ambassadors approved during a special session the airstrike plans against Libyan ground forces to protect civilians, broadening the alliance’s previous role of enforcing the no-fly zone and arms embargo, said the official, who asked not to be identified.
NATO Secretray-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen will announce the decision shortly, she said.
The decision will pave the way for NATO to assume full command of Libya operations from the United States, which has been eager to step back and in favor of NATO to take the reins.