Libya Rebels take Key Western Mountains, Train Women Fighters

The Free Libya forces centered at Benghazi are turning out to have a vivid political imagination.

For instance, they are training female soldiers for the fight against the Qaddafi brigades:

Women guerrillas are not new in the Arab world, and women played important roles in the Algerian war of liberation (1954-1962) and in the Palestinian movements.

The pro-Free Libya newspaper Birniq is reporting that forces in the Western Mountain area have inflicted a decisive defeat on the Qaddafi brigades that had been besieging those cities. It says that Free Libya fighters put Qaddafi brigades to flight, capturing an astonishing quantity of weapons and chasing them away, and so liberated cities such as Zintan, Nalut and Rahibat. They say they are giving chase and continue to engage the Qaddafi brigades as the latter head north toward the Mediterranean. The towns of the Western Mountain region have been under siege for nearly three months, subjected to shelling by tanks, artillery and Grad rockets.

feb17voices Feb 17 voices at Twitter confirms,

‘LPC #Yefren: Rebels are currently clearing Yefren city center & the area of Zimla, checking for remaining Gaddafi forces #libya #feb17 ‘


‘ LPC #Jadu: Caller says, the road leading to #Yefren from the foot of the mountains is mostly clear, but there are still risks #libya #feb17

Deutsche Press Agentur also summarizes this report and says that the Free Libya forces in Benghazi say that they are preparing an assault on the capital of Tripoli. The Arabic report is here.

The next town the National Transitional Council would have to take is Brega, to the northwest of the current border of Ajdabiya between Free Libya territory and Qaddafi-held towns. Much of Libya’s oil wealth is in the Brega Basin. Perhaps in preparation for another push west by the TNC forces, NATO bombed a command and control center at Brega on Thursday, using Apache attack helicopters, according to Aljazeera Arabic.

Meanwhile, Major General Umar al-Hariri, now a commander of the Free Libya forces but originally one of the young officers who helped Qaddafi make his 1969 coup, has told a pan-Arab newspaper that he believes that 60% of Qaddafi’s arms have been destroyed by NATO. He also called Egypt a key ally of the revolutionaries. The USG Open Source Center translates the interview from al-Sharq Al-Awsat:

‘ Libyan Rebels’ Military Chief on Situation, NATO Strikes, Al-Qadhafi’s Demise: Interview with Major General Umar al-Hariri…”
Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 …
Document Type: OSC Translated Text…

(Mahmud) How do you describe the current military situation in Libya?

(Al-Hariri) It is good. There are several fronts and the situations in them are good. We hope that this stage will not be long. We have a good situation in Ajdabiya, Misratah, Al-Jabal al-Gharbi, and Al-Zintan. All the areas are in the stage of struggle. It is true that it is bitter but it will lead to victory.

(Mahmud) When will the ruling regime in Tripoli fall?

(Al-Hariri) I wish it falls today before tomorrow. This depends primarily on the international pressure. We too are exerting military pressure on the ground as armed forces. It is not going to take long.

(Mahmud) Will it end within weeks or just days?

(Al-Hariri) I do not know. Will it fall after weeks or months? Only God knows. This is war and it has its ups and downs. What I wish is that the war will not last longer than one month and it could be less. The noose around him (Al-Qadhafi) is tightening and the only place left for him is Tripoli and Al-Aziziyah which is coming under heavy bombardment. He is now moving from one place to another…

(Mahmud) But Al-Qadhafi still has forces?

(Al-Hariri) NATO said before two months “we have destroyed 30 percent of Al-Qadhafi’s forces.” The truth is that all the forces were assembled in the western area and there is now a concentration on (certain) areas. I believe that more than 60 percent of Al-Qadhafi’s forces have been destroyed. More important is the breaking of his soldiers’ morale and making them run away. Most of them are mercenaries…

(Mahmud) In your opinion, why did Al-Qadhafi built such a fortified wall [at Aziziyah] ?

(Al-Hariri) All that he was concerned about was to survive.

(Mahmud) Was he preparing for such a day?

(Al-Hariri) He might have been preparing for such a day. He used the Libyan people’s entire resources for two things: “His protection and defense.” He had advisers from foreign countries, such as for example the former East Germany. His personal safety was his most important thing. The walls are four meters high in addition to their thickness…

(Mahmud) Is the situation now at the threshold of bringing in land troops following Britain’s signal that helicopters would be used?

(Al-Hariri) UN Security Council Resolution 1973 does not stipulate the entry of land forces into Libya. We reject this. But he (Al-Qadhafi) is seeking to have land forces enter so as to appear before the world as a hero. He only cares about himself and has always liked to appear as a hero. The option is absolutely out of question. Al-Qadhafi’s tanks are near Misratah and we are capable of liberating our homeland but will not accept the landing of land forces in Libya.

(Mahmud) Al-Qadhafi relied for 42 years on the 1 st September revolution’s legitimacy. Do you regret helping him then to seize power?

(Al-Hariri) I do. At first, we had objectives. We were young and lived under the shadow of (late Egyptian President Jamal) Abd-al-Nasir at that time. Our objective was to liberate the Libyan bases. As officers, we carried out the revolution. Some are accusing us of harming the Libyan people. Reform was our intention but this did not happen as we had wanted. We might also be accused of bringing this man to power. But it is fate. I only got my freed om on 17 February and therefore say my age is only three months, which is the age of the revolution. An age under injustice and repression is not an age…

(Mahmud) Why is the world refusing to arm you?

(Al-Hariri) We asked (for this) from fraternal Arab and other countries but they refused on the pretext that these weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. Al-Qadhafi claimed Al-Qa’ida (organization’s) leader is in Libya. The Americans confirmed that this was not true yet they did not believe us because there is a clause in the UN law banning weapons from both sides.

(Mahmud) If you succeed in concluding a deal, would NATO let them in?

(Al-Hariri) I do not think so on the pretext that the UNSC resolution does not permit armament except in some way. Al-Qadhafi is trying to get weapons through Algeria.

(Mahmud) Why there are always accusations that Algeria is providing Al-Qadhafi with weapons?

(Al-Hariri) Our accusation is not baseless. The Libyan people took a big stand with Algeria when we transported weapons for them from Egypt. I am amazed by its support for Al-Qadhafi. There might be a personal explanation. They fear the opposition. But I recall that the Tunisian chief of staff asserted that the Tunisian revolution will illuminate the entire Arab world, Algeria, and many others. I said many times the Arabs are cursed by the seats (of power). This tide will not stop after what happened in Tunisia and Egypt and the Arab people are in a permanent revolution.

(Mahmud) How do you see Egypt’s stand?

(Al-Hariri) Egypt is the mother and the large receptacle.

(Mahmud) This is more a diplomatic answer than a factual one?

(Al-Hariri) Egypt is always with us. There is a group that has some opinion. Al-Qadhafi is a savage and stupid person who does not refrain from saying anything. It is its right to fear for its nationals. We ask ourselves but appreciate its conditions and situations as it opens its borders with us fully. For example, we would not have reached Greece without much difficulty were it not for Egypt. I am certain that this stand is going to be better very soon. We do not fear for Egypt or fear it. We have a common and good history. ‘

Posted in Libya | 4 Responses | Print |

4 Responses

  1. O/T, but interesting, and in line with the rest of the obnoxious attempts at distorting reality.

    The sun will rise shortly in the US. Americans will wake to the news that the Anthony Weiner saga has been solved.

    Turns out it was just another in a never ending parade of Republican DIRTY TRICKS. Whocouldanode?


    link to


  2. Throughout this episode, I’ve been extremely disappointed at the number of people on the left who have been repeating Kadhaffi’s claims about the rebels being linked to al Qaeda.

    People who spent years denouncing this shoddy gambit when Bush used it before the Iraq War, people who denounced it during the controversy over the Park 51 community center, people who denounced this fear-mongering when it was used to disparage the protesters in Egypt and Tunisia, people who really should be expected to know better, and suddenly they’re impersonating Bill Kristol as they cast aspersions on the skeery al Qaeda Mooslems in Libya, just because they’ve decided it could be politically useful for their anti-war line.

  3. I just wanted to let you know that I read your blog avidly and find it adds enormously to the very incomplete knowledge of what is happening in the Arab world. I love the phrase “Egypt is the mother and the large receptacle.” Hasn’t it always been? Thank you, again, and I will continue reading.

  4. In training women as soldiers, the Libyan government is following the example of Mr. Gaddafi, whose core bodyguard company is entirely composed of women.

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