Sunday, 21 August 2011

Libya for Dummies - Gadhafi's Last Stand (Part IV)

Part I
Part II
Part III
I know I haven't written anything in a long time and so I decided to go with a dramatic title. This is not to suggest that the events described below are any less important, because the last few weeks have seen the Arab Spring in Libya, turned rebel uprising, turned civil war, become one of the most historic shifts in North Africa for a very long time.

The East
Since the start of the uprising, the rebels had managed to take over the eastern side of Libya. Benghazi, the second largest city of Libya had been seized by the rebels and has since then formed a Council of important and well-respected people from the city to lead them. This has become the de-facto government of the rebels and has been recognized by several major governments in the world, especially in Europe. In the early days of the revolt, Gadhafi was sending tanks and troops to try and retake the east, especially the oil refineries in Ras Lanouf and Brega. This is what prompted the Arab League and NATO to push for a resolution against Gadhafi's government and with the early intention of stopping them from killing civilians indiscriminately. The whole NATO operation quickly devolved into an operation to remove Gadhafi from power however.

The West
The western part of Libya had been held by Gadhafi's loyalists for the major part of the uprising. A few villages on the border with Tunisia managed to keep the soldiers at bay with hit and run tactics and probably manage to even get weapons from across the border (this is speculation on my part). It's not been until quite recently the the rebels in the west have managed to push through. They managed to get ahold of Zawiyah, which is only 50km away from Tripoli (the capital of Libya) about a week ago and this has finally gotten the people in Tripoli to restart their opposition movement to Gadhafi.

Tripoli - Bastion of Gadhafi
Gadhafi has managed to hold on to Tripoli from the onset of the protests months ago. For the past two days however, things have changed. Whole quarters of Tripoli have been taken by the opposition and they have apparently even managed to keep these from loyalist troops.
The image below, taken from, shows exactly what I mean.
The orange areas are the ones under rebel control. If you're still reading this, you might want to head over to that website. He is more knowledgeable about it than I am. If all you want is a basic overview, keep reading here.

If Tripoli falls, that would most likely mean the end of Gadhafi. If he's not yet in hiding, that's probably where he would be soon enough. Rebels from the east and the west are going towards Tripoli to aid the rebels in the city. If all goes well, this should be as bloodless as possible and Tripoli should join the Council in Benghazi and slowly form a new government in the next few months to a year.
The only thing I fear is that Gadhafi will stay in hiding and plot terror strikes against the people of Libya, which would keep Libya in a state of peril for a long time.

Let's hope everything turns out for the better.

Tiny update: Map of Tripoli
The map shows hourly updates from residents and from the "Freedom Forces" in Tripoli.