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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Libyan updates – only a few, but all of them significant.

News out of Libya has seemed grim lately, largely because in the absence of information many news agencies have taken to repeating Qaddafi’s dubious propaganda as though it had some basis in reality.

As I said before, Qaddafi’s forces are not equipped for a long term fight. They have an advantage when it comes to training and equipment, but their numbers are dwindling and their supply chains are thin or almost entirely nonexistent. Troops, officers, and pilots continue to defect to the anti-Qaddafi side at a rapid pace, and the revolutionaries now have a small but active Air force that has been striking against pro-Qaddafi targets.

This is particularly notable because earlier today two jets attacked strategic targets in Sirte (Qaddafi’s hometown, and one of his strongest bastions of support). After their ordnance had been expended they were expected to return to their base, but one of the pilots - Mokhtar Mohammed Osman - continued on to Tripoli and slammed his plane into the Bab Azizia military base (the same one that Reagan bombed in the 1980s), inflicting some serious damage (probably more psychological than physical). Some report that two high-stature Libyan officials – possibly even members of Qaddafi’s family - were injured in the attack, but confirmation of a statement like this is so impossible there’s no real reason to even repeat it except for my own wishful thinking.

Although still waiting for confirmation, there is also word that Sirte has fallen to the anti-Qaddafi forces within the past few hours. This is HUGE, and if true it means that aside from some surrounding towns, Tripoli is Qaddafi’s final stronghold. If this is the case, a massive and rapid counterattack by Libyan government forces can be expected – the ignominy of Qaddafi losing control of his hometown is not something he is likely to tolerate.

For ongoing updates you should be checking www.libyafeb17.com

Updates on Palestine and Bahrain tomorrow.

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