Monday, August 15, 2011

Quick Libya Update

I know I owe everybody an update that discusses the Baltics--I promise, it's actually more interesting than you probably think it is.

It's worth a quick Libya update. For those of you rooting for the Rebels, they seem to have finally broken the stalemate.

Trained reinforcements from Benghazi and increased coordination with NATO are part of how the rebel forces have broken out from the safety of the mountain ranged and dared, successfully, the open desert. The presses from the east, while unsuccessful so far, have also taxed Gaddafi's forces and allowed the western front to be relieved, at least to some extent.

They are stretched thin, attacking multiple cities at once. But in doing so, they take advantage of the full force of NATO behind them, which is now hitting most of Gaddafi's troops in the west at once (see Wikipedia image below).

If the rebels manage to take and hold Gharyan and (most importantly) Al Zawiya, they will have successfully cut off Tripoli from any incoming supplies, including electricity, food, weapons, money. Many of Gaddafi's troops are mercenaries, and are likely to quit if the supplies and money run out.

Gaddaffi's loyalists will certainly launch a powerful, Alamo-style counter-attack, but can be hit by NATO airstrikes on the way out of Tripoli. But if the counter-attack is unsuccessful, the war will, for the most part, be over. Gaddafi lacks the command & control to coordinate effective offensives, and cannot make the long pushes that the rebels are making. He has been unable to exhaust NATO's patience (which is turning to excitement as the rebels advance), which was the only strategy he had to ultimately win back the entire country.

In the next few days, we'll see if we've entered the end game in the Libyan situation or not.
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