Libya’s rebels prepare for assualt on Benghazi

Libyan rebels battled Qaddafi-loyalist forces at Ajdabiya on March 16, as the provisional opposition government in Benghazi, just 150 miles up the coast, prepared for an assault on the city. In response to international calls for a no-fly zone, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the dictator’s son, boasted to reporters: “The military operations are finished. In 48 hours everything will be over. Our forces are close to Benghazi. Whatever decision is taken, it will be too late.”

The rebel defenders of Ajdabiya meanwhile remained defiant. “There’s heavy fighting around Ajdabiya, they’re carrying out a scorched earth policy,” said Jamal Mansur, the town’s rebel commander. “There’s heavy, sustained tank shelling and earlier there were air strikes, but now the revolutionaries managed to take seven tanks from those dogs and, God willing, we will succeed.”

Fighting is also reported from Misurata, the last rebel stronghold in the west. Rebel fighters there claim to have captured 20 members of an elite unit commanded by Khamis, another of Qaddafi’s sons. (Middle East Online, The Guardian, March 16)

See our last posts on Libya, the Maghreb and the regional revolutions.

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  1. U.S. govt. shifting position on Libyan military intervention?
    Looks like Democratic Obama administration may be shifting its position towards supporting some kind of “humanitarian military intervention” in Libya, in response to right-wing/Fox News pressure (as evidenced by its support for proposed UN Security Council resolution).