Free Libya Offensive in Brega Begins

Update: Midday Monday Libyan time, Free Libya forces announced that the bulk of the Qaddafi brigades at Brega had retreated to Ra’s Lanuf and that Transitional National Council troops had taken much of the city. They still have not gone into the middle of the city and need to clear land mines and booby traps before advancing further.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic on Sunday’s advance by Free Libya forces into the strategic eastern oil city of Brega near the previous front at Ajdabiya. The fighting was hard, and the FL fighters never got closer than 4 kilometers to the city center. On another front, they were stopped kilometers outside the city. About 10 were killed and over 100 wounded during the advance, some from land mines set by Qaddafi brigades. Al-Hayat had reported last week on the Transitional National Council’s decision finally to launch the Brega offensive. Their determination appears to have been reinforced by the recognition proffered them by the 32 nations of the Libya contact group on Friday.

Euronews has a video report:

Fighting in places like Brega has seen a lot of seesawing back and forth, and the Free Libya fighters may be pushed back this time. But Qaddafi’s capabilities are being degraded, and at some point there will be a breakthrough there. Possession of the oil-rich Brega basin would probably be decisive for the Transitional National Council in Benghazi.

Meanwhile, the remarkably brave young men of Misrata are gradually moving toward Zlintan and are holding a line 22 mi. West of Misrata, having forsaken their video games and teenaged pleasures of life for war in a popular struggle against repression.

Late Sunday NATO planes bombed strategic sites in Brega, as well as hitting arms depots and anti-aircraft batteries in and around Tripoli, according to CNN. CNN reporters are also skeptical about the small demonstrations Qaddafi has been staging, of about 10,000 each, in towns such as Zlintan and Zawiya that are still under his control. Some seem to have been bused in from Tripoli or coerced.

In fact, there is evidence from defectors that Qaddafi is running out of commanders.

6 Responses

  1. “In fact, there is evidence from defectors that Qaddafi is running out of commanders.”

    So is Rupert Murdoch.

  2. “Fighting in places like Brega has seen a lot of seesawing back and forth”

    Zombie Erwin Rommel says, “Gee, you don’t say!”

    Don’t get too high about territorial gains; it’s the same mistake as looking at the front lines on a map and thinking that there is a stalemate.

    It’s certainly good news that the people of Brega are no longer under the Gaddhafi boot, but militarily, territorial gains don’t mean very much in Libya.

    Now, if the government – oops, can’t call them that anymore, the TNC is the legitimate government now! – troops can’t launch a significant counter-offensive, that will be meaningful. It will demonstrate that their capacity to wage war has been seriously degraded.

      • In fact, James, you’ve pinpointed the cosmic problem with oil states: the oil reservoirs, refineries and pipelines are of greater value than the entire human population, regardless of the type of government. That defines how tyrants rule, hand out rewards to supporters, import loyal labor, and buy weapons to make rebellion nearly impossible. Whether the oil is controlled by tyrants, foreign corporations, or tribal militias, that becomes the sovereign institution.

        Of course, much the same can be said of Afghanistan’s poppies or Colombia’s coca crop. Single-crop economies devalue citizens and make them expendable.

      • It would seem that for once, the tactic of going after the money is the most effective.

        Good point, although I was thinking of the bombing missions interdicting their supply lines, and the naval blockade.

  3. Certain territory means a lot. If the Free Libya forces can take Brega, Ras Lanuf and then Gharyan in the west, the psychological aspect of the war will be over.

    If Qadaffy is cutoff from oil resources in the South and East, its all over but the shoutin. It will be clear to all tribes and individuals that any negotiated solution will leave the Qadaffy clan defanged.

    It is going to be a very bloody fight to accomplish the above. VEry sad to watch, but that is war for ya. I expect Gharyan will be the fiercest challenge of all.

    It won’t be necessary to invade Tripoli region.

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