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LIBYAN WAR TO END? August 15, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in North Africa.
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Reports are suggesting that the rebel forces are making relatively easy gains and the Gaddafi Government is collapsing.

For example, Al Jazeera reports:

Opposition forces have launched a two-pronged offensive in western Libya, increasing pressure to isolate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s stronghold of Tripoli.

Opposition fighters fought for control of the towns of Gharyan and Az-Zawiyah on Sunday, attempting to cut off the southern coastal route from Tunisia that Gaddafi uses for supplies.

Zeina Khodr, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Az-Zawiyah, reported that the rebels had taken control of a bridge along which the highway from Tripoli to Tunisia runs, but that central areas of the city remained contested, with Gaddafi forces emplying snipers and mortar fire.

The battle also raged near the gates of the city.
Al Jazeera’s Khodr said opposition fighters claim “they have managed to take 70 per cent of the town, despite the threat of snipers still in the area”.

Bashir Ahmed Ali, the rebels’ battalion commander in Az-Zawiyah, said that his forces had suffered “many casualties” due to sniper fire. He also told the AFP news agency that a tank and four fighters had been lost in a “friendly fire” air strike during the operation to take Az-Zawiyah.

The gains are possible “because the Gaddafi forces’ defences were weak and that fighters received help from inside the city. As they expected, residents took up arms and fought alongside them when they arrived,” Khodr reported.

“The town had previously risen up against Gaddafi, but government forces quelled that uprising.

“Today’s victory would be the opposition’s most significant in months because they were just 50 km from Tripoli, a mere half an hour’s drive, if they could hold the territory and stave off a Gaddafi counter offensive,” our correspondent said.

Nato bombing does not appear to feature. The assumption might be that it has continued – as some cost to the participants. The rebels do not have the look of an army of any description, which suggests their success may be largely due to collapse within the other side. Now we will have to see how quickly it takes for Tripoli to fall.

Let us suppose that the Gaddafi Government falls, what significance will that hold for the world order, for the future of the movement for democratization in the Arab world, and for the people of Libya? Will Libya simply end up as a failed state?

ELSEWHERE:

Juan Cole suggests recent developments may be decisive favouring the anti-Gaddafi cause.

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