Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Tide Turns in Eastern Libya

Libyan rebels have dramatically reversed their fortunes in the past two days, capturing first the city of Ajdabiya and then two oil towns, Ras Lanuf and Bin Jawwad. This represents an advance of at least 200 miles (320 kilometers) since the bombing began. According to fighters interviewed in Benghazi, they met little resistance. Qaddafi's men probably did not want to fight with that one long, exposed coastal road behind them, so they pulled back -- unless they were so frazzled by their first encounter with modern air power that they just took to their heels. According to the Times, the rebels are expecting a major showdown battle at Surt, Qaddafi's home town.
If Surt falls, “it is game over,” one man said, insisting that the atmosphere in the capital was already slipping. “The government is losing control,” he said. “You can’t touch it but you can feel it.”
This could certainly turn out to be interesting. I never thought bombing would overthrow Milosevic, but in the end it did. So maybe it will overthrow Qaddafi as well. Still, Qaddafi's men had the toughness to launch their nearly successful counter-offensive in the first place, so they may turn out to have a lot of fight in them yet.

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