Update on Libyan Civil War, May 18th
As one can tell, there has not been much news on this front in the last 24 hours, possibly because of a news blackout. The biggest change is that much of Tawergha has been taken by the Misratan Rebels. However, there have been some recent reports of counterattacks from the South East and the west, around Dafniya and (presumably) the Salt Marshes. There have not been many troops stationed here, as the landscape is flat, and liable to be attacked with artillery, which when combined with no cover, results in people becoming sitting ducks. However, considering this is the area to the southeast of Misrata, this means Qaddafi’s troops may have just done the same. In addition, uprisings in Zliten may be continuing, but with the lack of information, that is just conjecture.
Nafusa Mountain Front
As was the case yesterday, the situation is very poor. There have been artillery strikes by the Qaddafi forces on the top of the ridgeline, in an attempt to win the high ground. However, Qaddafi forces were routed in Zintan. In addition, there were NATO strikes around that town as well. In any case, the humanitarian situation there is worsening, and it appears that the Berbers don’t have the strength to turn the tables on their own. One option for these people may be to try and get assistance from other Berber communities, especially in Morocco, where, while things are not great, are certainly much better for the Berbers in the last several decades than in Libya. However, there is some good news. The rebels have seized a broadcasting station in Nalut, which is now broadcasting Free Libya stations instead of Qaddafi’s verbal diarrhea.
Other Fronts in Libya
There have been some reports of strikes on Brega, not only by NATO air power, but also from NATO naval power, and also from what Artillery the rebels have managed to obtain. This, if true, implies a change in strategy from the past few weeks, where there had been little movement for about month, which may have been a recommendation from NATO. Elsewhere, there seems to be continued unrest in Tripoli and Bani Walid.
The Political Front
Pressure on Algeria has led to progress, as there are now reports the Algeria has seals the crossings between Libya and Algeria. This could be a blow to Qaddafi, though one must wonder what caused this change of tune. France had been pressuring Algeria. In addition, there have been rumors that Qaddafi’s wife and daughter have fled the nation. Reuters is reporting this, which lends it credence. This is an important development. It shows that the city of Tripoli may no longer be safe for Qaddafi’s family.
As many of you might of heard, she was freed and given to Qatar. Al Jazeera has done an interview with her, and she states that Syria was torturing those in prison. She heard the screams through the walls. This is pretty obvious news, though no less disturbing.