Libyan Civil War, August 14th Update
I’ve been having a busy and stressful time at home, which has kept me from having the time to do these pages. However, recent events mean one is necessary.
Significant Libyan Population Centers
Considering the recent events in this area, call this the Nafusa Front no longer applies. The Rebels in the Nafusa Mountains have come down out of the mountains, and on the coast.
The precursor to the current events was the taking of Bir al-Ghanam on August 6th, and the subsequent repulsion of a Qaddafi counterattack the next day. Since then, they have been slowly advancing through the desert. Yesterday they reached Az-Zawiyah, and attacked. In the past 48 hours, the Rebels have gained control of over a majority of Az-Zawiya (news reports say abour 70% of the small city) and Sorman to the West. In additon, fighting has been reported in both Sabratha and Al-Ajaylat. In the past several hours, a rebel colonel has stated that Al-Ajaylat is under rebel control. This may indicate that Sabratha may be as well, as Sabratha is some distance to the east, between Sorman and Al-Ajaylat.
The question now whether rebels will be able to hold on to these Coastal Positions. There is still a considerable area to the west of Al-Ajaylat to the border with Tunisia at Ras Jdir, in addition to Tripoli to the east. However, NATO can now use ships in this area because of the proximity to shore.
Farther inland, the small city of Gharyan has also been attacked by the rebels, and is substantially under their control. There does seem to be an issue with snipers in the city though. The loss of this city means that the supply route south is now cut off, along with the coastal road.
A comprehensive map is here, made by k_thos on Twitter. I am unaffiliated with this person.
While the attack on Zliten has stalemated, there is some action to the south of Misrata.The town of Tawergha, about 45 kilometers from Misrata, has been used as launching point for long-range Katyusha rockets. However, rebels took control of Tawergha on August 12, meaning Misrata is now out of range from rocket attacks for the first time in about 4-6 months. Rebels have since advanced beyond this, to a bridge linking the area with Sirte.
There is not much news from this front. There have been airstrikes, but this front has been quiet. The target for these airstrikes have largely been Military vehicles and command and control.
The Charles De Gaulle, a French Carrier, has headed back to France for Regular Maintenance. The ship had been out of port for 8 months, supporting NATO operations in Afghanistan before heading to Libya. Several of the Rafale Carrier Jets will be deployed to Corsica for continued Airstrikes.
In addition, Norway stopped aggressive action on August 1, after 4-5 months of doing airstrikes.
Qaddafi made a speech this morning in Tripoli. In this speech, he denied the Rebel advances, said that the rebels and NATO would be destined to be defeated, and told those listening to pick up arms and go to the front, and fight inch for inch to “liberate” Libya.