Libyan Civil War, July 6th Update
After about a month of a trickle of news coming out of Libya, larger amounts of news are now coming out of Libya.
Libya and its Significant Cities
For the first time in weeks, we now have a substantial amount of news coming out of Misrata. Apparently, the advance towards Zliten is back underway, with the front line now being near Suq al-Thulatha, on the southern end of the city. However, it is unclear from reports if Suq al-Thulatha is the line of farthest advance, or the actual front line. The reason for this is the pattern the Misratan Rebels have done of advancing a distance, then falling back to a more fortified area later. This is attested to today by the fact that some people said the advance went 15 km, while others said it went only 7 km, consistent with the previous pattern of falling back about half the taken distance to a fortified area.
In addition, rebels and some reporters have said that there is an ‘arc’ around Zliten. This would indicate possible encirclement of some amount. This is further suggested by suspension of airstrikes in the area of Zliten, which have caused consternation for the rebels nearby. Combining this information with talk of artillery of Qaddafi’s forces in the city, and we have the possibility of some amount of an encirclement, trapping some of Qaddafi’s forces in the city, in very close proximity to civilians. NATO, unwilling to cause mass civilian casualties, suspends airstrikes.
We also know now the names of the commanders on each side for this front. On the Rebel Side, the Commanders are Ibrahim Bet-Almal, Nuri Abdullah Abdullati, Saleh Badi, and (possibly the overall leader based on rank) Major General Suliman Mahmoud al-Obeidi. On Qaddafi’s side, the leaders are Khamis al-Qaddafi and Abdullah al-Senoussi. al-Senoussi is wanted by the ICC for war crimes.
The Nafusa Front
This front has now turned completely out of Qaddafi’s favor in recent weeks. About a week ago, the Al-Qa’aa munitions depots were raided by rebels after NATO airstrikes, with Rebels taking must of what was usable by convoy. In addition, the town of Bir al-Ghanam was temporarily under attack, and possibly taken by rebels (reports are unclear) before rockets forced them out.
Today, after heavy bombardment by NATO, the rebels were given the green light to advance on al-Gwaleesh, east of Kikla. Reports say that the retreat of Qaddafi’s force was in a panic, with some equipment and uniforms left behind. After 6 hours of fighting, the town was taken. There is only one town left between the rebels and Gharyan, Asabaa’a. Gharyan is the last connection of Tripoli, and by extension Qaddafi, has to nations to the south and Algeria.
The Rebels commander structure here is led by Colonel Mokhtar Milad Fernana, with Commander Hajj Usama commanding the troops from Zintan, Commander Ali al-Hajj commanding troops from Yefran.
Large Rallies against Qaddafi occurred in several Rebel held cities, including Misrata and Benghazi. In response, Qaddafi has ordered that all Mosques in Tripoli are to be closed Friday, and that people will pray in Green Square. Qaddafi will more than likely claim this is a rally to support him.
Update: Sky News reports that Qaddafi’s Government has issued 21 indictments for the various officials in the NTC, accusing them of conspiring with foreign nations to launch aggression into Libya. Considering the person issuing this, the only way this deserves attention is in regards to the safety of the NTC.