Update on Libyan Civil War, May 17th
The Misrata Front
As seen above, we have maps showing the movements along this front.
The biggest difference in that the speed of the advance has slowed down. This is a result of Qaddafi positions in both Zliten and Tawergha. Both positions have been firing heavily at the rebel advance, with 7 killed today. In particular, Zliten may have a significant force build up by Qaddafi, with as many as 32 tanks and 2 howitzers. However, there is a significant uprising in Zliten against the Qaddafi occupiers, which could prove to make it very hard for Qaddafi to hold the small city. In any case, the fight for Zliten may prove to brutal and vicious, and its likely death tool from this may be high, along with damage. There is very little information about the state of the front between Tawergha and Zliten, but it does seem there is less fighting here. In addition, there may have been another attempted boat attack, though this was thwarted by NATO intervention, who are also bombing positions in Zliten and Tawergha. However, the vagueness of the statement could be a reference to the incident yesterday that gave new meaning to “Blow-Up Doll.”
The Nafusa Mountain Front
With the recent breakout in Misrata, this front has become the most tenuous for the rebels. Though they are able to hold their ground, several towns towards the eastern edge of this area have been under siege for the best part of 3 months, and these towns, the largest of which is Yefren are approaching the point of becoming a humanitarian crisis. Today, there was a surge of attacks by Qaddafi’s forces, though they were defeated. The first of mention is an attack on the border town of Wazzin, how the rebels repulsed an attack, but suffered one death and many injuries in the process. In addition, there maybe new incursions into Tunisia, as an attempt to flank the rebels. Also, there have been rocket attacks throughout the region. However, there have been new NATO Airstrikes as of today through the whole region. In any case, it is unlikely that this area will have a similar break-out to Misrata. They rebels are to spread out and too few in number. And the supply line is a single road running to Tunisia. This area will have continue to have trouble until the war ends, or until any foreign volunteers decide to funnel through this town to the war zone.
The War Elsewhere
Two strikes overnight destroyed two government buildings in Tripoli, with one of them being the Interal Security Building. In addition, there have been continuing strikes on Brega, a town that now more resembles an army camp after many of the civilians left. This town is about 80 km southwest of Ajdabiya, a rebel held town with significant military buildup. Airstrikes have alse been reported in Zuwarah and Az Zawiyah, with there being rumors of uprisings in Zawiyah, some Western neighborhoods in Tripoli, and Bani Walid, where there was supposedly an attack on Qaddafi force going to reinforce their men on the Misrata Front.
The Political Front
Possibly the biggest news is the fact that there are reports that the current Oil Minister has defected from Qaddafi, and is in Tunis. This, if true, indicates that Qaddafi’s control over the inner circle may be slipping, as there were reports that he was holding family members of various government functionaries hostage in order to keep them loyal. In addition, a recently defected officer has alleged that Khamis al-Qaddafi and Moatassem-Billah Gaddafi, sons of Muammar, were killed. Supposedly Khamis was killed in the suicide attack before the NATO intervention, while Moatassem supposedly met his end in a NATO attack last week that destroyed a bunker, along with a guest-house on top of it. In addition, the same officer has alleged that Qaddafi shot and killed his Chief of Staff, Abu Baker Younis Jaber, after Jaber objected the tactics used by Qaddafi in quelling the protests and rebellion thereafter. Combined with the reported death of Saif-al-Arab al-Qaddafi 2 weeks ago in a Norwegian attempt on Muammar’s life means that it is possible that one to three of his sons are now dead. In addition, Tunisia has threatened to bring Qaddafi’s government to the UN Security Council for violating its territorial sovereignty.
This is not related to Libya. However, on April 29, the Syrian Government captured an Al-Jazeera reporter by the name of Dorothy Parvaz. She is an American who also has passports from both Canada and Iran. She has not been heard from since the day of her detention, and has supposedly been deported not to the nations she has been in for most of her life (The US and Canada), but to Iran. This is something I think you all might want to be aware of. The US media should cover this.
Update on Dorothy Parvaz
Al-Jazeera Reports that she has been released and is now in Doha! Great news to hear!