In Libya the “rebels” moving from the mountains and from Misrata have reached the outskirts of Tripoli. It is the beginning of the end game for Moammar Gadhafi. The news sources are reporting heavy fighting in and around Tripoli.
Since this is now the end game, we need to sit back and watch what happens next. The question on everyone’s mind is whether or not Libya will be united after the demise of Gadhafi. Considering the factional make-up of the country this is a very difficult question to answer. At least in the interim the Libyan people will need to trust those who were once a part of the Gadhafi regime to lead them as a peaceful country.
One of the very real difficulties facing Libya is indeed the Islamist faction. There is no credible way of knowing whether they are a minority or a majority. However, those Islamists have been in the thick of the fighting. I am not going to judge them on possible links to Al Qaeda, at least for the time being. Their fight has been nationalist and not tied to any desire for world domination of Islam. If they change focus, then that will be the time to roundly condemn them. In the meantime, I think we all need to know more about the NTC and the people who are members of that group because they will be thrust into a position of power as soon as Gadhafi is toppled.
The “Information” spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim has well and truly been in line for the Baghdad Bob award, and he continues to impress with his delusions. As usual there is the contempt shown for the opposition as they are referred to as “rats”, “thugs” and similar names. However, what really takes the cake is the comments that “the government has put down the outburst of rebellion”. What Moussa Ibrahim is not telling the journalists, is that once again as soon as people step out of their front door, they are being shot by snipers. Gadhafi continues to blame NATO for the bloodshed that he is committing.
I am not certain if NATO is guilty or innocent when it comes to the “deaths of civilians” in Libya. At this point in time I do not believe anything that comes via Moussa Ibrahim or any of those who remain loyal to Gadhafi (in the past few weeks 3 more have defected). The reports on NATO action have been scant (or maybe I have had too much reading and have not seen up to date reports). The reports that I read this morning indicated that a group of Libyans had crossed into Tunisia and that the Tunisians have engaged them… are these rebels or are they governmnet troops.
Also, there are pictures of the ruined compound of el-Senussi (who is wanted by the ICC for crimes against the civilian population), and that brings up the question of whether or not Senussi is still alive, or whether he and his family were killed in the strike. Judging from the noises and sqawks coming from the government of Libya, I am guessing that the raid killed people in the compound… but were they civilians as claimed.
Reports have suggested that the rebels have moved into a base in the Tajoura district. This is not verified by reporters. It has been claimed that they have moved into the base that was held by the Khamis Brigade (and without opposition). This particular base had been bombed in the past. This also begs the question on whether or not Khamis Gadhafi is alive or, as was claimed at least 2 weeks ago that Khamis was killed in an air raid. Considering the way in which the rebels have been able to advance so rapidly I am suspecting that the truth is that Khamis was killed in that raid, and that Moussa Ibrahim is hiding the truth. Yet Moussa Ibrahim mentioned the death of another Gadhafi family member (Ibrahim is related to Gadhafi).
I am making this post a sticky because there will be updates on what is happening. I have not provided links to news reports and these will be added later.
Update 1: In this BBC report, the opposition forces are claiming to have captured Saif al-Islam. This claim needs to be verified by journalists traveling with the opposition forces. If Saif is captured, then I wonder if he will be handed over to the ICC for trial.
Update 2: In this BBC report there is a lot of live information. It is well worth a look because it is up to date and it is verifiable from the journalists traveling with the opposition forces. As you read this report please read all of the live updates. Even though one report claimed that the opposition forces have captured Saif-al-Islam, it is Gadhafi’s oldest son Mohammed (who is I think a non-combatant) has surrendered to the rebels. There are reports in the updates of others who have been captured. Plus there are reports of cheering and people in Tripolic chanting “we are free”. A journalist has confirmed that the opposition forces entered and captured the base of the Khamis Brigade and that they have taken weapons from the base. The seige of Tripoli has begun.
It should be pointed out, that despite many of the claims by Moussa Ibrahim, it is the Gadhafi forces who have been going onto the rooftops in Tripoli and who have been killing people in the streets. NATO is not responsible for those deaths. It is Gadhafi who is responsible.