Skip to main content

Follow clayclai on Twitter
Now that it is clear that the 42 year reign of Mummar Qaddafi has come to an end and there is little left to do on the military side beyond putting down a few pockets of pro-Qaddafi resistance, the question of bragging rights to this victory seems to be coming to the fore in certain western circles.

NATO and it's allies are looking to increase their influence in Libya so they can cash-in on post Qaddafi developments. Although they never managed to get "boots on the ground" during the conflict as NATO would have liked, they still hope to fulfill that dream, via some "peace keeping" or "stabilization" mechanism. Regardless of whether they are successful in that quest, they will be peddling their influence in a hundred other ways.

In preparation for that, they are now trying to take credit for the victory over Qaddafi in subtle ways that will allow them to take ownership of it in the public mind. Typical of the way they do that is the story that has been circulating in the media in the past few days about a group of British SAS on the ground in Libya. An example is this one in the Telegraph 24 Aug 2011:

Libya: SAS leads hunt for Gaddafi

British special forces are on the ground in Libya helping to spearhead the hunt for Col Muammar Gaddafi, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

For the first time, defence sources have confirmed that the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in coordinating the fall of Tripoli.

With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have been dressed in Arab civilian clothing and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi, who has been on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured on Tuesday.

I don't want to address the question of whether or not this is true. Even if the SAS were there, they can hardly take credit for this brilliant victory, a "key role" could be anything. That could mean communications and intelligence and it almost certainly meant supporting the sea assault by Thuwwar from Misrata, but trying to imply that a handful western special force Rambo types, who suffered no causalities as far as we know, are the real authors and heroes of this victory is to take credit were it is not due.

The campaign that routed Qaddafi's Tripoli defenses in a few days was masterful! First there were the coordinated campaigns in the west coming down from the Nafusah Mountains and from in the east, west of Misrata, then the convergence on Tripoli via three major roads, from the west, east and south, together with an amphibious landing of a brigade from Misrata and the uprising by secret forces already in Tripoli. It was a brilliant victory. It showed great unity and coordination by freedom fighters from separate parts of Libya and the leadership of their command staff in spite of the assassination of their chief of staff, most likely by Qaddafi agents, only weeks before. It will go down in military history as a classic victory.

The idea that the authors of this were some westerners who just parachuted in and not the people who lived Qaddafi's nightmare for 40 years and have been fighting it for the last 6 months is ridiculous. Those most likely to believe it are those that have some misconceptions about the supremacy of western special forces and the inferiority of Arabs.

The Libyans are the ones that have been fighting in these lands since before the Romans. They know the lay of the land and they knew the rising capabilities of their people. The only thing they could never be sure of was NATO, which was MIA for the early parts of the campaigns around both Misrata and the Nafusah Mountains and bombed the wrong armies too many times. Why do the British feel the need to resurrect the "Lawrence of Arabia" mythology to try to snatch credit for this win from the revolutionary Libyan people?

Take for example the organizations of the secret forces inside of Tripoli itself. Do you seriously think that was pulled together under Qaddafi's nose by some British SAS guys in Arab clothes? They wouldn't even know their way around and they wouldn't be trusted by anybody. Two months ago I wrote Tripoli Burn Notice about an agitational action by the Free Generation Movement in Tripoli. They have organized many such actions in the past six months and also managed a rising tempo of armed attacks on Qaddafi checkpoints and other targets in the city. The forces that would rise up from within Tripoli itself were schooled and organized by these actions, not by SAS neighborhood classes.

And it was not some SAS guys with satellite gear that kept critical communication links up, it was the hacker groups like Anonymous, both inside and outside Libya that made sure the uprising had some degree of Internet access even in the worst of blackouts. The Google initiated speech-to-tweet service for Libya was far more important than anything the spooks contributed. A lot of operational information pasted through Twitter.

So with regards to the story about the British SAS on the ground in Libya, the question is why are they letting it 'leak' out now? The British government always "no comments" any story about the SAS, why then is the Telegraph saying it "can disclose?" That indicates that they have some sort of official permission or backing to print this story. Why is the gov't changing it's policy in this case? It's because making this story public is itself part of a psyops campaign directed at the public. This conclusion is quite independent of whether the story is true or not since it normally wouldn't be disclosed even if it was true.

In spite of all the commentary that says different. It was the Libyan freedom fighters, not NATO that beat Qadaffi. Sun Tzu said "Every battle is won before it is even fought," and this revolutionary war was won before it was ever fought because the people were sick to death of Qaddafi's rule. If Qaddafi was going to beat the uprising militarily, he would have already done so in the first month before the UN and NATO got involved. In that first month the freedom fighters were completely unskilled and practically unarmed whereas Qaddafi's forces were at their peak.

Qaddafi threw just about everything at them in that first month. Jet aircraft, helicopters, tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons against civilians and of course, thousands of arrests and disappearances. The siege of Misrata, Libya's Stalingrad, started then. Grad rockets, cluster bombs, artillery, even naval bombardment until NATO made him stop that. The siege of Misrata was to go on for 4 long months before the freedom fighters had pushed Qaddafi's army beyond his 20 km. Grad rocket range. In some periods I've been told, they were losing an average of 50 people a day in Misrata.

The freedom fighters on the other hand, started out with practically nothing. Some had meat cleavers in their hands when they first attacked the barracks in Benghazi. As a result of that they got a few real weapons but still they had no training. But they had courage! The hospitals were filling up with Thuwwar that had accidentally wounded themselves, and they kept falling into traps and walking into ambushes, but they learned. They also had no overall organization or strategy. Most units began as a small band of brothers fighting together. During the months of battle, these youth groups coalesced into bigger units sometimes called battalions or brigades. Only slowly did they develop and gain strength.

But they showed perseverance right from the beginning. As so often happens in revolutionary periods, two would step forward for everyone killed, imprisoned or captured by Qaddafi. Qaddafi had divisions of crack trained troops, the best UK, EU and Russian weapons and all the soldiers money can buy, but he couldn't trump that revolutionary spirit.

The protests started out peacefully, as they had in Tunisia and Egypt. Once the people elected to meet Qaddafi's state violence with the people's revolutionary violence, there was no looking back. Qaddafi extracted a horrific toll in that first month of violence, probably about 7000, the majority of those killed in the whole six month war, and yet the strength of the Libyan revolutionary campaign continued to grow. Qaddafi sealed his own fate when he ordered his army to open fire on unarmed protesters. The die was cast when the people of Benghazi summoned up the courage to seize the barracks.

After that it was only a matter of time. Had NATO not entered the war on the side of the revolution, it certainly wouldn't have been done in six months. It would have been a protracted war and Qaddafi would have killed many, many more Libyans before it finally came to the same conclusion because the Libyan people simply were not going to put up with him any longer.

NATO did not win this war and this war was not the first war won by air power. This war was won by the revolutionary Libyan fighters on the ground. What NATO did with their intervention was to shorten the war and that is really why they entered the war. Those that say it wasn't about humanitarian concerns are right. So are those that say it was about oil. They were already getting the oil but given the economic crisis, the NATO countries couldn't afford to have the flow of Libyan oil stopped for years by a protracted war. They also didn't like the prospect of the relatively tamed revolutions in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt being radicalized by a protracted revolutionary war in Libya. After a month of seeing that Qaddafi's massive violence wasn't working, they acted to settle the matter quickly by throwing their air power behind the revolution. They acted to shorten the war, and in that they did serve a humanitarian purpose.

There is also the related mythology that NATO stepped in just in time to keep the rebel army from being crushed by Qaddafi forces. NATO did step in just in time to keep the civilian of Benghazi from being massacred, but that is not the same thing as defeating the liberation army in the field. The liberation army was growing in all parts of Libya, as was revealed shortly, not just in the east as the experts said.  As the US learned in Vietnam, killing masses of civilians with aircraft, tanks and artillery is easy. Defeating a dedicated people's army in its own country is not.

NATO didn't win this war but they want you to think they did. They want to take ownership of this victory for at least three reasons that I can think of. First, they don't want people to get the "wrong" idea that people actually did this, rose up and overthrew an oppressor. That could be very bad for the bottom line. Second, the more they can take ownership of the victory, the more they can justify pushing their greedy noses into the Libyan trough. That could be very good for the bottom line. Third, it makes the argument for "boots on the ground" now go down a little easier if they can argue that they're there already.

Why do they need to disparage the victorious people's army so badly? Even on Al Jazeera we hear "untrained and undisciplined" rebel army in Tripoli. How do that get that from the practice of this army on the ground? The ultimate test of discipline for an army is it's ability to take and hold ground, it soldiers ability to follow orders so that the army can operate in a coordinated manner, and especially it's ability to bounce back from setbacks in a coherent way. The Liberation army has shown all those qualities and much more, an as yet we have heard no reports of widespread looting, revenge killings or other bad behavior by the freedom fighters in Tripoli. And as far as "untrained" is concerned, none who saw this army and it's soldiers in February and now can doubt that they have been trained. How and by whom may be in question, maybe they're self-taught, but the training is proven by the results.

I am also sick of hearing nonsense like "am I alone in wanting to have more information on who the rebels are?" Frankly, I supported the NLF in Vietnam 40 years ago on little more than the gut instincts of a 20 year old. In Libya, thanks to digital technology and the Internet, we have a virtual cornucopia of information about who the "rebels" are. There is far more information in YouTube videos, Facebook pages, Tweets, blogs posts, white boards etc, etc, than anyone could ever hope to consume. There is the excellence coverage of AJE available on-line 24/7. Thanks to the excellent work by Google Translates, you can even read Arabic websites in English with little trouble. Who would have thought that 10 years ago? The Libyan activists have made all of this publicly available, and still we hear "we don't even know who these rebels are" as if the Left's collective ignorance is an indictment of the Libyan people's movement. I think this comes from a combination of arrogance and laziness because I don't get the feeling most of these complainers have spent even an hour browsing

The other Arab people don't share the left's doubts. After Friday prays today, the Syrian protesters celebrated the success of the Libyan revolutionary war. It was celebrated in Tunis and Cairo as well. Western "Marxists" may know that "Libya is different" and that in Libya, a CIA/NATO backed group of armed contra is attempting "regime change" against a "progressive", "anti-imperialist" Jamahiriya, but the Arab Street in Syria, as well as Tunisia and Egypt know that it is all one revolutionary struggle and that at this particular time, the Libyans are in the lead. That is why the imperialist need so badly to get control of it.

Even the formerly pro-Qaddafi Russia Today is launching it's own arguments for a NATO force on the ground after the battle has been won. Now it's "the Libyan dictator" and today they are raising a scare about Qaddafi's stockpile of chemical weapons. Either he might still use them for a grand "going out" party or worst??, they might fall into the hands of the rebels and al Qaeda. Their solution? NATO has a responsibility to clean up "it's mess", so they better get down there and make sure those weapons are secure.

This example clearly illustrates the relationship between taking ownership of the military victory and "having to" take "responsibility" for the post-war outcome. More than just bragging rights for the defeat of Qaddafi are at stake. If they can claim the victory, they can claim the spoils. That is almost certainly one of the reasons NATO offered to "help out" in the first place. Of course they helped out in a way that was almost guaranteed to cost them no lives and very little money beyond Obama's drone fest. They have to fly those planes anyway and they really didn't drop as many bombs as some people have been lead to believe.

It is ironic that these types of news stories and this line of argument by the NATO PR people will find perked ears among many in the anti-NATO intervention crowd. Generally speaking, they have already discounted the grave danger that the people of Benghazi were faced with at the time that NATO acted, and they have also discounted the Libyan uprisings as a real organically growth people's struggle against a dictatorship. Many have argued all along that this was a western backed, CIA planned assault by NATO surrogates bent on "regime change." In other words, they had already given NATO ownership of this struggle even before the victory, so naturally they will welcome any news that supports their conclusions.

Back in March when this left wing crowd first noticed the Libyan revolution and started issuing various "Statements on Libya," I said that I thought they were tailing after their own bourgeoisie. I said that because I felt that revolutionaries would have recognized the significance of the Arab Spring much earlier and seen the central importance of the armed struggle shaping up in Libya long before the UN or NATO got involved. I said that because they only seemed to 'wake up' to what was going on after the imperialist had made it a question of public discourse when the bourgeoisie needed to get the public involved.

But a big part of the "tailing after their own bourgeoisie" POV didn't fit because the anti-interventionists came into the struggle opposed to NATO, seemingly opposed to their own bourgeoisie. What tricked them was that NATO, for it's own creepy reasons, some of which I have discussed here and here, came into this fight on the side of the revolution. As a result, much of the anti-war movement, short on analysis and driven by reflex, came out opposed to NATO. They took a counter-revolutionary stand with regards to the Libyan revolution

A good example of this viewpoint can be found on the Marxist website Kasama in a piece by Mike Ely titled:
Regime change by bomber: NATO’s victory in Libya
Do I really need to quote from it? The title makes it clear what he thinks. Anyway while we are here. How does Mike think the war was won?

The key element in their overthrow has been the massive deployment of aerial power by major imperialist countries (including the U.S. and its European NATO allies). It destroyed the Libyan government forces, and increasingly picked off, one by one, any concentrations of military forces willing to stand and fight.

He points to NATO stats of over 7,500 strike missions in the war to date. What he doesn't tell you, which I have pointed out elsewhere, is that this number is very misleading because in NATO's Libya campaign, they have actually attacked targets in less than 20% of the "strike missions," i.e. four our of five planes come back from strike missions without having dropped anything. This abnormally has raised eye brows in defense circles but has gone unnoticed by the anti-NATO "massive bombing" crowd.

And how does he think Tripoli was taken so fast?

The ground-based opposition to Gaddafi has increasingly walked into Tripoli through the cratered remains of Libyan government forces.

Is that true? How many bombs has NATO dropped in the last week in Libya in general and around Tripoli in particular? From NATO's daily reports we have:
Key Hits 17 AUGUST:
In the vicinity of Brega: 3 Rocket Launcher, 2 Tanks.
In the vicinity of Az Zawiyah: 2 Armed Vehicles, 1 Military Boat.
In the vicinity of Badr: 4 Armed Vehicles.
In the vicinity of Tripoli: 1 Military Facility, 1 Radar, 2 Surface to Air Transloaders, 3 Surface to Air Launchers, 2 Surface to Surface Launchers.
In the vicinity of Waddan: 2 Ammo Storage Facility.
In the vicinity of Zlitan: 2 Tanks.

Key Hits 18 AUGUST:
In the vicinity of Az Zawiyah: 1 Command and Control Node, 2 Armed Vehicles, Transloader, 5 Tanks.
In the vicinity of Tripoli: 4 Military Facility, 1 Surface to Air Missile.

Key Hits 19 AUGUST:
In the vicinity of AzZawiyah: 1Artillery Piece.
In the vicinity of Tripoli: 9 Military Facility, 3 Radars, 1 Radar Guided Anti Aircraft Weapon System, 1Tank.
In the vicinity of Zlitan: 1Military Logistic Vehicle, 1Tank.

Key Hits 20 AUGUST:
In the vicinity of Tripoli: 3 Military Facility, 1 Military Storage Facility, 7 Surface to Air Missile Transloaders, 1
Radar, 1 Surface to Surface Missile, 2 Armed Vehicles, 2 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, 3 Command and Control
Node, 2 Multiple Rocket Launcher.
In the vicinity of Sirte: 1 Command and Control Node.
In the vicinity of Brega: 1 Multiple Rocket Launcher, 1 Heavy Machine Gun, 1 Military Firing Position.
In the vicinity of Gharyan: 1 Armed Vehicle, 1 Anti Aircraft Gun.
In the vicinity of Zlitan: 1 Surface to Air Missile Launcher.

Key Hits 21 AUGUST:
In the vicinity of Tripoli: 3 Command and Control Facilities, 1 Military Facility, 2 Radar, 9 Surface to Air Missile Launchers, 1 Tank, 2 Armed Vehicles.
In the vicinity of Bin Ghashir: 1 Radar.
In the vicinity of Al Aziziyah: 5 Surface to Air Missile Launchers.

Key Hits 22 AUGUST:
In the vicinity of Brega: 2 Multiple Rocket Launch

Key Hits 23 AUGUST:
In the vicinity of Tripoli: 2 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, 2 Military Heavy Equipment Truck, 3 Surface to Air
Missile System, 1 Radar.
In the vicinity of Ras Lanuf: 3 Armed Vehicles, 3 Multiple Rocket Launchers.
In the vicinity of Zuwarah: 2 Tanks, 3 Armed Vehicles, 2 Military Trucks, 1 Military Facility.

Key Hits 24 AUGUST:
In the vicinity of Tripoli: 2 Military Storage Facility, 1 Military Heavy Equipment Truck, 2 Anti Aircraft Gun, 1
Surface to Air Missile Support Vehicle, 1 Multiple Rocket Launcher, 1 Radar.
In the vicinity of Sirte: Surface to Surface Missile Support Vehicles.
In the vicinity of Okba: 1 Surface to Air Missile.
In the vicinity of Bani Walid: Anti Tank Rifles

So NATO hit 84 targets in an 8 day period around Tripoli starting 3 days before the beginning Operation Mermaid Dawn. Of those 23 were missiles or missile launchers, 12 were vehicles of various sorts including a tank and 9 were radar installations. This is what is being portrayed as a carpet of bombs which allowed the Arab army to just waltz on into Tripoli over the decimated remains of Qaddafi forces.

The hospitals of Tripoli, Misrata and Benghazi are full to overflowing with injured and dying freedom fighters, true working class heroes. Many have given their all and will never see the new Libya or their twenty-fifth birthday. The Libyan people have paid with their blood to show that even the application of massive violence won't defeat the people's will to liberation.

And we have to read this stuff from a so-called Marxist? This is a very sorry time for our movement.

For more background on the Libyan Revolution and links to lots of information see my other writings at the DailyKos and WikiLeaks Central:
#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya
What should those that opposed NATO's intervention in Libya demand now?
BREAKING: Qaddafi's Tripoli Compound Falls!
Does PDA Support Qaddafi?
BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is JoinedHelter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure
Qaddafi's Long Arm
SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO
Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?
CCDS Statement on Libya - a Critique
The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis
NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Arming Gaddfi
North African Revolution Continues
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yaque, BeeDeeS, Gustogirl

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 08:30:49 AM PDT

  •  Bragging rights.... (5+ / 0-)
    The US administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were set on developing deep “military to military” ties with the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi, classified US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks on 24 August reveal.

    The United States was keen to integrate Libya as much as possible into “AFRICOM,” the American military command for Africa which seeks to establish bases and station military forces permanently on the continent.


    “We can get [equipment] from Russia or China,” Muatassim told the visiting senators, “but we want to get it from you as a symbol of faith from the United States.”

    In hindsight, given the US support for the NATO war against the Gaddafi regime, it is not difficult to understand why the Libyans wanted these guarantees.

    Nevertheless, Gaddafi received high praise for his “counterterrorism” credentials from US officials.

    The documents also reveal that the United States was keen to court Gaddafi’s sons, flying them to the United States for high level visits.

    And, notably, none of the cables regarding high level meetings quoted in this post made any mention of American concerns about “human rights” in Libya. The issue never appeared on the bilateral agenda.

    Does the removal of the Gaddafi regime now clear the way for the United States to pursue the plans for integrating Libya into AFRICOM under what the Americans must hope will be a pliable regime?


    Courting Gaddafi and his sons

    After President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, it appears General William Ward, the commander of AFRICOM did get his invitation to visit Libya the following March. Before his visit, Ward received a classified briefing document from the US Embassy in Tripoli setting out US priorities and goals in Libya as well as providing insights into the regime.


    Ward’s brief, according to the classified cable, was to help overcome Libyan suspicion of US military expansion into Africa.


    At no point were human rights concerns ever an obstacle to American engagement for either the George W. Bush or Obama administrations.

    The documents support the view that the decision to go to war against Gaddafi – in the name of “protecting civilians” was more opportunistic – riding on the back of the “Arab Spring.”

    -- Did Wikileaks just reveal the US blueprint for Libya?,

    Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

    by Edger on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 08:44:59 AM PDT

    •  Edger, i'm not getting your point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you are saying that the US government has a Libya strategy, I agree. I may not agree with you about what it is, but that another matter. I covered a lot of the history of the rapprochement between the US and the Qaddafi regime, including the military-to-military thing in Arming Gaddafi. The French also have a Libya strategy and so do the British and Italians.

      If you are saying that the Libyan revolution is part of a blueprint, that's another matter. Please be clear.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 01:38:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The rebels could not have advanced to Tripoli (7+ / 0-)

    let alone take it without NATO paving the way with it's bombs and rickets.

    Airstrikes More Difficult as War Moves to Tripoli

    The NATO air campaign that was instrumental in helping the rebels advance into Tripoli is hamstrung in many ways now that the fighting has turned into complex house-to-house urban warfare, American military and allied officials said Tuesday.
    the allies have passed on these lessons to the rebel fighters. Applying them, they think, will allow rebels who had been dependent on strong NATO air support for many of their past gains to drive Qaddafi loyalists out of Tripoli completely.

    A NATO military official said Tuesday, for instance, that British and French commandos were on the ground with the rebels in Tripoli offering “fairly extensive” help. “They’re doing a lot of coordination with some of the air assets that we have to bring specific targeting on the remnants of the pro-Qaddafi regime,” the official said, describing a traditional role of commandos in calling in airstrikes on precise targets, or instructing the rebels on how to do it themselves.

    The military official said he did not know if Central Intelligence Agency operatives in Libya were also working with the rebels in Tripoli, but he said “they certainly should be.”

  •  Who cares? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Let us resolutely study and implement the resolutions of the 46th Convention of the Democratic Party!

    by Rich in PA on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 09:04:54 AM PDT

  •  Assertions aren't arguments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, yaque, FG

    You never made the case for the argument you set out in your second paragraph, that NATO wanted or wants to have boots on the ground or was trying to take all credit. You just set up a strawman and then tried to set it on fire. With pretty mixed results.

    Basically it is just Chomsky Manque.

    Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

    by Bruce Webb on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 09:06:30 AM PDT

  •  NATO has now been steadily pounding Tripoli (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, Edger, Gustogirl

    for 6 months so few targets of opportunity were left. Tripoli has received more hits from NATO than any other area.

    The rebels cannot take Sirte w/o NATO paving the way with rockets and bombs.  (Nor could they have taken Brega or  Ras Lanuf. In fact, from the recent NATO strikes it appears that neither are under complete control of the rebels.)
    RAF jets lead strikes on Gaddafi's home town of Sirte
    ...the main rebel push moved towards Sirte, where the majority of Gaddafi’s remaining loyalists are holed up. Paving the way for the offensive, Nato aircraft, spearheaded by the RAF, flew more than 130 sorties taking out key targets, which included a number of Scud and SAM missile sites. They also took out a convoy of 29 armoured vehicles that had been moving along the coast to the rebel-held port of Misurata.

    Maj Gen Nick Pope, a spokesman for the Chief of Defence Staff, confirmed that RAF jets, using Storm Shadow precision guided missiles, had also hit a large bunker in Sirte thought to house an army control centre.
    British and French military advisers based in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi have been working with opposition commanders to target strikes.

    This is a NATO war against Gaddafi to remove him from power. The rebels and R2P are just cover.

  •  The Telegraph or Daily Mail do not represent UK (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yaque, FG, Clay Claiborne, Woody, BeeDeeS, Gustogirl

    policy. Just like their American counterparts, these news sources will play up any involvement by the "home team", and downplay or omit references to other elements that would disturb the narrative.

    If your understanding of World War II was based on Hollywood or US media from the last 20-30 years, you could easily conclude that the British were simply giddy cheerleaders as the Yanks outwitted and outfought the suprisingly incompetent Nazi war machine. On the other hand, if you're a serious gamer, then you pretty well understand the real dynamics - 80% of German action was against the Soviet Union, and the Americans and British were usually outwitted and outfought on the battlefield. They won through attrition - which is fine - but not as glorifying. More relevant to Libya - Hollywood would have us believe France was wall-to-wall resistance fighters in the 1940's when the reality was far different.

    Roll forward to Libya, and the domestic US and European press are doing their usual, and most of the bystanders are projecting their intentions on the actors. It seems clear than some agents (e.g. SAS and French commandos) had probably significant roles in the outcomes, but where it matters, in the hospitals and graves, we have the core reality of young Libyan civilians showing a courage we can only wonder if we would have.  As far as I can see - they have earned their liberation - and I applaud the US and Europeans for taking the back seat here.

    Even if it took longer, the result is authentic, and Libya has its own heroes. Which is why the preemptive utterances of McCain and Lieberman were even more reprehensible than usual.

  •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Since it's clear now that NATO wasn't practicing colonialism and imperialism, the worries are that Libya may now be a regular nation with regular ties to its neighbors of its own volition.

    Don't worry, maybe it will chose to be hostile and bizarre.

    Inland: A privately held corporation spun off from the Womb Division of MomCo a half century or so ago.

    by Inland on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 10:11:31 AM PDT

  •  Who beat the English in US Revolutionary War (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yaque, Clay Claiborne, Woody

    The US revolution would likely not have been won if not for the financial, military and other support from France.

    But who in the US credits the French?  If anything the view is that the US Revolutionary leadership established relationships with France and persuaded the to support this effort.

    Ultimately it is best to give credit for this victory to those who truly risked their lives, the revolutionary forces in todays Libya and the US in the 1700s.

    Some will claim the Libyan forces were puppets of the west.  So claiming the West and the US in particular actually won the war undermines the credibility of the new government in Libya.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 10:22:23 AM PDT

  •  You only show targets hit over the last few days. (0+ / 0-)

    Of course, bombing has been going on for much longer than that. No one denies that Lybians themselves made the biggest contribution to Qaddafi overthrow. But it is hard to imagine how they would have done it without NATO bombing.

    •  I said it would take longer without NATO (0+ / 0-)

      When you say "hard to imagine how they would have done it without NATO bombing" are you imagining that they would have just given up at some point? Because that's the alternative.

      I don't know but look at the pounding they've take in Syria and they haven't given up. It took the Vietnamese 30 years but they never gave up.

      I only show targets hit over the past few days but I give you links were you can find data for the whole war so you should come back with facts rather than falling back on what you think anyway.

      AFRICOM spokeswoman Nicole Dalrymple said in a statement on June 29th. “As of today, and since 31 March, the U.S. has flown a total of 3,475 sorties in support of OUP. Of those, 801 were strike sorties, 132 of which actually dropped ordnance.”

      So US planes bombed 132 targets in Libya as of June 29. Is that what you think won the war?

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 02:03:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's a NATO report 23 Aug. 2011 (0+ / 0-)
        23 Aug. 2011
        Press briefing on Libya

        by Oana Lungescu, the NATO Spokesperson and Colonel Roland Lavoie, Operation ‘’Unified Protector’’ military spokesperson
        NATO and our Partners have conducted a highly effective campaign in support of the Libyan people under the mandate of the United Nations Security Council.

        Over the past five months, we had steadily degraded a war machine, built up over more than 40 years. Today, we'll past the milestone of 20,000 sorties flown. We have damaged or destroyed almost 5,000 legitimate military targets, including over 800 tanks and artillery pieces.
        Col. Roland Lavoie: I could take this one. We do not coordinate with the opposition. We do our missions which are basically to do the No-Fly Zone, the embargo and the protection of the civilian population. Of course, we obtained information from our Allied nations who have presence on the ground to know what is going on and to know where and when we should act to better accomplish our mandate.
        Q: Could you just clarify that last answer? You said you obtaine information from Allied nations with a presence on the ground who know what's going on. There's been some media reports stating that British and French special forces have been arming and training the rebels
        Col. Roland Lavoie: You could understand that as a spokesperson for NATO I can't comment, although there's national activities in Libya. But of course, in general terms, we do have eyes and ears in the country which is basically that intelligence is basically merged with the intelligence we could get from our own means also for this operation.

        •  The issue is not whether foreign agents (0+ / 0-)

          were on the ground. the first one were from the CIA Tripoli station and were on the ground before Feb 17. They are everywhere.

          The question is who did the fighting, developed the strategy, recruited & trained the forces, and won the war? I say it was the Libyans.

          All those wounded young freedom fighters in the hospitals now knew what they were doing, who they were fighting and why. They weren't cannon fodder for an imperialist aggression.

          Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

          by Clay Claiborne on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 06:32:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Without NATO and other foreign help (0+ / 0-)

            the rebels would have been decimated. Just watch any youtube video to see how they fight and you will realize this. They run out into the street and shoot from the hip and then run back to cover. I've yet to see any video that shows them as a serious disciplined fighting force.

            You need look no further than how long it has taken for them to take Brega and Ras Lanuf in the east which are close to Benghazi.


            Qatari special forces led Libyan attack on compound

            AUGUST 24, 2011

            While Foreign Secretary William Hague and former British Army chief Gen Sir Michael Jackson were busily promoting the argument that the Libyan people had taken Tripoli on their own, it has emerged that foreign forces played a significant role in yesterday's storming of Col Gaddafi's compound.

            At one stage, Nato commanders had to ask the rebels to hold back from the compound while the RAF launched a final missile attack on Gaddafi's HQ.

            And, according to The First Post's defence expert Robert Fox, members of the Qatari special forces, trained by Britain, could be seen clearly directing the final assault on the compound.

            The Arab emirate of Qatar has already emerged as a major supporter of the new Libya, arming the rebels over recent months and playing host today to an international conference which will see a billion-dollar-plus fund started towards the rebuilding of war-torn Libya.

            •  I'll bet you predicted NATO boots on the ground. (0+ / 0-)

              Where you one of those? There might have well been some NATO hush puppies on the ground as forward air controllers and other functions. I for one don't doubt it but I also suspect that their numbers were in the dozens, not in the hundreds, and since I don't subscribe to the super hero Rambo theory of warfare, I don't credit them with very much.

              And if you think that the whole Arab uprising in Libya was actually being lead by these Brits dressed as Arabs like in the movie Lawrence of Arab, you need to lose your preconceptions &learn more about this revolution.

              I know Qatar supports the NTC, they've made no secret about that but that doesn't prove anything Robert Fox says about QSF is true, isn't he one of the media people that regularly promotes intels views of things?

              You keep quoting various sources that are now claiming to have knowledge of SF ops in Libya. Do you also generally believe these same source when they deny SF ops in other areas? I doubt them always.

              I said in my diary why I am suspicious of these stories about SF ops in Libya. Regardless of whether the stories are true or false, why are they coming out now?

              Now as to the rebels being decimated. Why weren't they decimated in the first month? Qaddafi had a slaughter feast in that first month. 700-800 protesters murdered in Tripoli on 2/21, 2000 in Benghazi before that. That was before the protesters took up arms and became freedom fighters. That they did take up arms and rather than turn tail and run should have been Qaddafi's first clue that your decimation theory wasn't going to work. But he kept killing none the less, probably about 7000 before NATO came in.

              Of course all of those weren't #FF, Qaddafi was shelling Misrata with cluster munition and firing Grad rockets into liberated areas so the majority of those were Libya civilians. But more and more of the civilians themselves took up arms.

              It is estimated that Qaddafi has killed about 20,000 to this point yet the whole country is rising against him and the liberation army is larger than ever.

              Those were heroes running out into the clear to get a bust off before their barrels heated up and no matter how many Qaddfafi or his mercenaries killed, another brave Libyan or two stepped forward to take his place. So you see, your declamation theory is flawed, as has been proven in Vietnam, among other places.

              This was a victory of the Libyan people. The piece you cite above reveals the real value of NATO's air power. NATO pounded Qaddafi's HQ just before the #FF ground assault, and a number of times before that, and yet as soon as the #FF entered the compound they met the fiercest resistance of the whole Tripoli campaign. It took 3 or 4 days of slogging it out in fire fights. Now, taking that battle as an example, are you going to claim that it was NATO and not the Libyan fighters that took Qaddafi's compound?

              If Qaddafi's compound had been so throughly bombed, it's a wonder that his famous raised fist statue was still okay. During a lot of the amphibious operations in WW2 the Navy brass knew that the naval shelling and air assaults on islands before the marines went in would be only mildly effective against a dug in enemy but it was important to buck up the troops before many of them walked into certain death.

              Anyway, NATO has probably bombed Qaddafi's compound more than any other target in Tripoli and still there were pro-Qaddafi forces with a lot of fight left that had to be taken out on the ground. Killing dug in soldiers from the air still ain't all that easy.

              So far, we have seen no indications that NATO massacred hundreds of thousands of pro-Qaddafi forces around Tripoli. No, the reason Tripoli fell so fast is that when push came to shove not more than a few thousand Qaddafi loyalist were willing to fight for him. That is the simple truth of it that you will have to learn to live with.

              Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

              by Clay Claiborne on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 10:21:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Reports of special forces on the ground (0+ / 0-)

                since start of NATO hostilities.

                C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels

                March 30, 2011

                While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said.

                In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, the officials said.

      •  They could have been defeated by Qaddafi. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac

        It was not just an option but a likely scenario at one point.

  •  NATO hitting Tripoli while softening up Sirte (0+ / 0-)
    Key Hits 25 AUGUST:
    In the vicinity of Tripoli: 1 Command and Control Node, 1 Surface to Air Missile Transloader, 1 Surface to Air
    Missile Launcher.
    In the vicinity of Sirte: 29 Armed Vehicles, 1 Command and Control Node.

    Key Hits 26 AUGUST:
    In the vicinity of Tripoli:2 Military Facilities, 1Military Storage Facility, 1 Surface to Surface Missile Launcher.
    In the vicinity of Sirte: 1ArmouredFighting Vehicle, 11Armed Vehicles, 3 Logistic Military Vehicles, 1 Military Observation Point, 2Military Shelters, 1Military Engineer Asset.
    In the vicinity of RasLanuf: 2Multiple Rocket Launchers.
    In the vicinity of El Assah: 1 Tank.
    In the vicinity of Okba: 1Surface to Air Missile Transporter, 1Radar.
    In the vicinity of Al Aziziyah: 1Surface to Air Missile Launcher, 2 Radars.

    Take note that NATO is paving the way for a rebel advance on Sirte from both the east and the west. W/O NATO and the their ground spotters the rebels would have still remained stalled in Ras Lanuf.

    “In Tripoli, we are seeing the same pattern in recent days that we saw earlier in the east,” said Diana Eltahawy, Libya researcher for Amnesty International. She described a record of abuse, torture and the extrajudicial killing of captured pro-Gaddafi fighters that has followed the rebels from east to west as they have taken over the country.
    In eastern Libya, rebel fighters remained stalled Friday outside the coastal oil terminal of Ras Lanuf, which was coming under rocket fire from pro-Gaddafi forces

    •  The US Navy "paved the way" to Iwo Jima (0+ / 0-)

      with 8 months of naval and aerial bombardment of that small island and still it was no cake walk for the Marines that took it and planted the flag, so try to have a sense of proportion about these things.

      The relatively little bombing that NATO has done in this thing did not create the victories on the ground.

      The truth is that Tripoli fell because the people their hated Qaddafi, and as soon as they could rise up they did and it was then clear that beyond his mercenaries, he only had a few thousand die hards that have been mostly routed out by now.

      It's not because hundreds of thousands or even ten of thousands of Tripolians came to his defense and had to be bombed into submission or had already been bombed into submission. That clearly is not the case. Around Feb 21, Qaddafi murdered 700-800 protesters. Since then, the city lived in terror. They cheered the NATO bombing from the rooftops and they organized quietly.

      Tripoli fell so quickly because once it reveal itself, the opposition to Qaddafi was so total. That's really what happened.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 02:30:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Citing your own blogs is not proof of anything (0+ / 0-)

        The fact remains that w/o NATO intervention, the rebels would have been destroyed. Every single advance they have made was presaged by NATO bombing. The NTC had very little control or even knowledge of the final push on Tripoli by the western rebels.

        NATO is playing it's own game in Libya leaving the NTC out of the loop. NATO intends to have complete control over events as they unfold in Libya.

        Libya's Long Endgame: Which Rebels Exactly Are Gaining on Gaddafi in Tripoli?

        But who exactly is winning the Libyan civil war? The battlefield success has been far from a smooth affair. Though there is a high level of coordination between generals in the rebel capital of Benghazi and units in the east, field commanders in the western part of the oil-rich nation, where Gaddafi still controls considerable territory, are largely acting on their own, without guidance from political leaders, in what is called Free Libya.

        The only effective fighters amongst the rebels have been the experienced Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

        Gaddaffi Releases Libyan Islamic Fighting Group From Prison After They Renounce Al-Qaeda

        These fighters will not be subservient to the NTC. They have now been supplied with a fantastic amount of armament looted from Gaddafi's arms depots across Libya laid bare and accessible by NATO's bombing.

  •  New rebel military commander in Tripoli (0+ / 0-)

    Escobar: Al-Qaeda asset is military commander of Tripoli

    Speaking to RT today live from Brazil, Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar said that an al-Qaeda asset is now leading the military of rebel-controlled Libya.

    According to Escobar, Abdelhakim Belhadj, who commanded a military offensive in Libya over the weekend, has become the de facto commander of the Tripoli armed forces. Belhadj has also, says Escobar, was trained in Afghanistan by a
    “very hardcore Islamist Libyan group.”

  •  Welcome to Libya's 'democracy' (0+ / 0-)
    By Pepe Escobar

    The Big Gaddafi has barely left the building - the Bab-al-Aziziyah compound - and the Western vultures are already circling overhead; the scramble is on to seize the "big prize" - Libya's oil and gas wealth.
    NATO started winning the war by launching Operation Siren at Iftar - the break of the Ramadan fast - last Saturday evening, Libya time. "Siren" was the codename for an invasion of Tripoli. That was NATO's final - and desperate - power play, after the chaotic "rebels" had gone nowhere after five months of fighting Gaddafi's forces.

    Until then, NATO's plan A was to try to kill Gaddafi. What R2P cheerleaders - left and right - had dubbed "steady NATO attrition" boiled down to praying for three outcomes; Gaddafi killed, Gaddafi surrenders, Gaddafi flees.

    Not that any of this prevented NATO bombs from falling in private homes, universities, hospitals or even close to the Foreign Ministry. Everything - and everyone - was a target.

    "Siren" featured a colorful casting of "NATO rebels", Islamist fanatics, gullible embedded journalists, TV-friendly mobs, and Cyrenaica youth manipulated by opportunist Gaddafi regime defectors eyeing fat checks by oil giants Total and BP.

    With "Siren", NATO came out all guns (literally) blazing; Apache gunships firing nonstop and jets bombing everything in sight. NATO supervised the landing of hundreds of troops from Misrata on the coast east of Tripoli while a NATO warship distributed heavy weapons.

    On Sunday alone there may have been 1,300 civilian deaths in Tripoli, and at least 5,000 wounded. The Ministry of Health announced that hospitals were overflowing. Anyone who by that time believed relentless NATO bombing had anything to do with R2P and United Nations Resolution 1973 was living in an intensive care unit.

    NATO preceded "Siren" with massive bombing of Zawiya - the key oil-refining city 50 kilometers west of Tripoli. That cut off Tripoli's fuel supply lines. According to NATO itself, at least half of Libya's armed forces were "degraded" - Pentagon/NATO speak for killed or seriously wounded. That means tens of thousands of dead people. That also explains the mysterious disappearance of the 65,000 soldiers in charge of defending Tripoli. And it largely explains why the Gaddafi regime, in power for 42 years, then crumbled in roughly 24 hours.

  •  Many good points in this posting, Clay (0+ / 0-)

    I agree that Libya is the most advanced of all the Arab Spring countries in the process of shedding authoritarian or tyrannical rule.

    there are people who refuse to give any credence to the peoples of the Middle East, to Libyans or Tunisians or Syrians or Egyptians.

    It can't be possible they are playing a big role, even a decisive role in these struggles.

    If you watch Russia Today, you would think NATO is implementing a plan to push Russians out. if you look at the Chinese sources, you would see they were anxious not to be hostages and moved their personnel out.

    Everybody has gripes. Even the US turned over its playbook and went back to opposing Quaddafi as if was  1970 to 2003 all over again.  They weren't sure he would lose, but they hedged their bets all right.

    Funny how a clearcut cause that seizes the energy and imagination and all the effort possible means good fighters are trained up quickly, while a mercenary and reluctant army takes 9 or 10 years and even then is in doubt. See Afghanistan and Iraq and the South Vietnamese Army of the post Dien Bien Phu period.

    The news report in the WashPo and elsewhere is suggesting some disorder and anarchy that could use a more muscular US presence (hinted).  That to me confirms this "ownership" and who wants it.

    The AfriCom efforts and integration into a US ring of bases if possible which was appearing to be developing under Quaddafi  is still in flux and probably the subject of a lot of intrigue in the next weeks and months. So kicking him to the curb also disrupts those plans for "controlling" Africa of the hawks.  Remember they need a clear channel, a compliant client to make it go. The Libyans are not welcoming bases and projecting power for a foreigner's designs and projects.

    •  Gadaffi rejected Africom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Monday, 18 February 2008

      US shifts on Africom base plans

      Gen William Ward - Africom commander
      Gen William Ward said Africom's intent had been misunderstood
      The US military has decided to keep the base of its new Africa Command in Germany for now, after only one African nation, Liberia, offered to host it.
      African doubts

      Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua announced in November that he would not allow his country to host an Africom base and that he was also opposed to any such bases in West Africa.

      South Africa and Libya have also voiced strong reservations.

      Only Liberia, which has historic links to the US, has offered to host it.

      There has been concern that Africom is really an attempt to protect US oil and mineral interests in Africa, amid growing competition for resources from Asian economies, says the BBC's Alex Last in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
      What is AFRICOM?
      Biot Report #590: February 02, 2009    

      AFRICOM (also known as United States Africa Command and USAFRICOM) is the newest U.S. Department of Defense unified combatant command—that is, a command composed of forces from two or more military services and a broad and continuing mission.
      Africa Responds to AFRICOM

      American efforts to headquarter AFRICOM or locate forces at bases in Africa have met with resistance, with exceptions, such as Liberia. “Regional superpowers Nigeria and South Africa have refused to give the U.S. permission to establish AFRICOM on their soil, and they have warned their neighbors to do the same. Morocco, Algeria, and Libya, too, have reportedly refused U.S. requests to base AFRICOM forces in their countries.” (37) Why is that? “If there was to be an influx of armed forces into one or other of the African countries, that might affect the relations between the sister countries and not encourage an atmosphere and a sense of security,” summarized former South African Defense Minister Mosiuoa “Terror” Lekota. He warned, “It would be better for the United States not ‘come and make a presence and create uncertainty here.’” (37-38)

  •  British and French special forces take leadership (0+ / 0-)

    Libya conflict: British and French soldiers help rebels prepare Sirte attack

    British and French special forces are on the ground in eastern Libya, calling in air strikes and helping rebel units as they prepare to assault Sirte, the last coastal town still in the hands of pro-Gaddafi forces, a rebel officer has told the Guardian.

    The soldiers have taken a leading role not only in guiding bombers to blast a path for opposition fighters but also in planning the offensive that finally broke the six-month siege of Misrata, Mohammed Subka, a communications specialist in the Al Watum (My Home) brigade, said.

    On Thursday afternoon, Subka and his unit waited at the rebel frontline, known as Kilometre Sixty, aboard a column of battered, black pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns and a few tanks recently captured from Gaddafi's forces.

    "We are with the England team," he told the Guardian. "They advise us."
    The advance on the city could not begin until loyalist units south of the road ahead were cleared from their positions, Subka said, flipping open his laptop to show a map – apparently provided by Nato – of artillery positions threatening the route. "We don't worry about those units – they are Nato's concern," he said.
    The Nato team also helped plan the first breakout of the rebels two weeks ago when they captured the town of Tawarga.
    The British and French units also helped opposition fighters assault Zlitan at the weekend in the first stage of the offensive that took rebel units into Tripoli.

    Testimony to the deadly effect of Nato's bombing was evident along the highway leading out of the city.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site