Even just in the short space since last night, Operation Mermaid Dawn is in full swing.
Tag Archive: National Transitional Council
Over the past 24 hours, the Libyan opposition has made major gains against Gaddafi‘s forces – under the cover of the no-fly zone. The cities of Ajdabiya and Brega, crucial outposts on the main highway along the coast, have been retaken. This makes a full attack on Benghazi difficult. There are also reports emerging that the rebels have retaken the city of Ras Lanuf, a crucial oil-supplying town. Hurting Gaddafi’s economy can only help in his (hopeful) eventual overthrow.
What has changed? We changed. Thanks to the Western (and now Qatari) imposed no-fly zone over Libya, the rebels are benefitting from a huge boost in morale, knowing that the international community supports them, and from the no-fly zone grounding Gaddafi’s deadly air force.
Apparently, Ajdabiya was taken mostly because of the RAF. A devastating bombardment of the city by RAF Tornadoes led to Gaddafi’s forces melting away.
The French air force has also been suppressing Gaddafi’s air force around Misurata, a city besieged. It took down, reportedly, three planes and two helicopters last night.
Liam Fox has claimed that we will not be directly suppling the rebels with arms, citing the presence of a UN weapons embargo. Mind you, Resolution 1973, only cites arms delivered to the “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya“, the name of Libya under Gaddafi. The Transitional Council calls the country the Libyan Republic. As France recognises the rebels as the legitimate government, are they bound by this embargo? I’m no lawyer, but it’s a point to explore…
So, that’s the latest updates on Libya. A clear change of fortunes for the rebel forces, that we can only hope will continue.
Bahrain Updates –
A Friday “day of rage” is ongoing, despite martial law. But who is organising it?
Neither Wefaq not the February 14 Youth Movement have claimed responsibility, and Wefaq, a Shia opposition group, have distanced themselves from the protests, seemingly hinting that it is now too dangerous to protests, with Saudi troops on the streets.
Libya Updates –
NATO appears to be taking over command of the no-fly zone over Libya, but the US will remain in charge of air strikes on Gaddafi’s ground forces.
This seems mostly to be the only way to get Turkey on board, a country which opposes bombing ground targets as it fears civilian casualties.
The situation now seems to ask the question – what is the goal? I still believe that we cannot only side with the rebels, for fear of poisoning our reputations in the eyes of other Arab states. We must appear to remain impartial and legitimate. But really, the goal must be Gaddafi’s removal. The continuing economic sanctions will hopefully force him to submit to a change in leadership. In the meantime, covertly or via France (which recognises the Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya), the west and Arab states must supply the rebels. This will allow them to survive, and even force Gaddafi out, by themselves. Supplies and training are crucial for the rebellion.
- Libya and Middle East unrest – live coverage (guardian.co.uk)
- “Gaddafi has lost his link with reality” – Middle East expert (rt.com)
- Arabs say Gaddafi must go, wary of Western action (reuters.com)