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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Libyan Democratic Forces Push West [Updates]

With surprising speed the Libyan Democratic Movement is sweeping westward towards Tripoli.

As of 0300 GMT Monday, Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte- said to be the big battle before Tripoli – is reported to be in Democratic hands. Democratic forces have therefore crossed 570 km from Benghazi and are now only 159 km from Misrata and 450 km from downtown Tripoli.

As more land and people and military equipment comes under the control of the Democratic movement it remains to be seen who will be standing with Gaddafi in coming days.

News from Adjabiya, via AJE:

o  Doctors in Adjabiya are reporting that women have been raped by Gaddafi forces. The pockets of Gaddafi soldiers killed are full of condoms and Viagra[tm].

o  175 people are reported missing from the Adjabiya population. Bodies have been found buried by Gaddafi forces and calls to cell phones belonging to the missing have reportedly been answered “You can come claim the body in Tripoli”. This lends credence to the earlier reports that Gaddafi forces have been removing bodies.

o Three doctors from the hospital are missing, their ambulance found riddled with bullets. They had gone two blocks from the hospital to retrieve a patient.

With any luck Misrata will be free tomorrow.

[Update 1] AJE Liveblog comment: ~0430GMT:

michaelb76 34 minutes ago

I send a huge congratulation to our fellow front line rebels who have taken Sirte! Sirte I can confirm has fallen into our rebel army control. There are some pockets of resistance as things stand and what we are hearing from our front lines but overall the city has fallen and many former Qaddafi fighters have surrended and a good part of it have joined our rebel army!

Congratulation to our Rebel Army for taking Sirte the last strong hold before we can march now to save Misrata from Qaddafi madmen! Then Tripoli here we come.

I call on the remaining Qaddafi troops that are still fighting for Qaddafi abandon your military posts, or take the posts over and join the Rebel Fighters. Sirte has fallen and this means you are now fighting for a Dictator that is done and soon all of Libya will be free! The moment has come to make a decision and help Liberate Libya or defend a dying Qaddafi Regime!

Years from now what you still Pro-Qaddafi fighters be able to tell your sons and daughters or your grandchildren when they would ask you did you help free our Libya?

[Update 2] Doctor in Misrata reports no coalition bombing but further shelling from Gaddafi forces and nine more killings by snipers overnight.


  1. Now Sirte has changed hands. I think Misrata will tell the tale. If it falls quickly, like by tomorrow night, then the loyalist troops are ready to quit. If Misrata changes hands quickly then I expect other cities and towns south and west of Tripoli to follow suit. Possibly without any rebel force threatening a fight. Of course, we’ve been here before. This is what it looked like two weeks ago. However, the coalition air power has changed the whole dynamic.

  2. jsfox

    Should Gaddafi fall and presently all signs point to he will. Then what?

    Will the west step way back and allow the Libyan people decide?

  3. HappyinVT

    AJE blog just a bit ago.  Apparently, scouts went in and met no resistance.

    Also, I find it quite funny that NATO is claiming the no-fly zone and other operations will be “impartial.”  Sorry, from what I’ve seen the last day or so it is quite clear the coalition is acting at the transitional council’s air force.  (Not that I mind, but come on, NATO.)

  4. HappyinVT

    “Tomorrow in London, the international community will come together to support a new beginning for Libya. A new beginning in which the people of Libya are free from violence and oppression, free to choose their own future.

    Our countries are resolved to continue to enforce United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 to protect the people of Libya. More countries from Europe and the Arab world are joining us. It is only when the civilian population are safe and secure from the threat of attack and the objectives of UNSCR 1973 are met that military operations will come to an end. We emphasise that we do not envisage any military occupation of Libya, which would be contrary to the terms of the resolution. We reaffirm our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.”

    Military action is not an objective as such. A lasting solution can only be a political one that belongs to the Libyan people. That is why the political process that will begin tomorrow in London is so important. The London conference will bring the international community together to support Libya’s transition from violent dictatorship and to help create the conditions where the people of Libya can choose their own future. In the words of the Arab League resolution, the current regime has completely lost its legitimacy. Gaddafi must therefore go immediately. We call on all his followers to leave him before it is too late. We call on all Libyans who believe that Gaddafi is leading Libya into a disaster to take the initiative now to organise a transition process.”

    In our view, this could include the Interim National Transitional Council, the pioneering role of which we recognise, the civil society leaders, as well as all those prepared to join the process of transition to democracy. We encourage them to begin a national political dialogue, leading to a representative process of transition, constitutional reform and preparation for free and fair elections. To help Libya make this transition, we are today also calling on all the participants at the London conference to give their strong support.”

    In the last few weeks, the Libyan people have demonstrated their courage and their determination. Like all other peoples, they have the right freely to choose their leaders. We must unite to help them make a new beginning.”  h/t to

    Seems like we’re going to presume Gaddafi is relevant in the grand scheme of things.

  5. HappyinVT

    A group of Libyans from abroad and inside the country is setting up the new station to broadcast news and commentary about Libya for a Libyan audience, with the aim of countering Libyan state propaganda and promoting dialogue about the country’s future after Muammar al-Qaddafi, the brutal leader whose four-plus decades in power appear to be drawing to a rapid close.

    The channel, to be called simply Libya TV, launches this week in Doha after less than two weeks of hurried preparation. Its founder is the avuncular Mahmud Shammam, a well-known Libyan expatriate journalist who edits Foreign Policy’s Arabic edition.


    For the first month, Shammam hopes to broadcast four hours of original programming each day, including a 20-minute news bulletin and a half-hour talk show, and then extend it thereafter. He is keen to give Libya’s young people, who have been at the forefront of the uprising, a prominent voice at the station. “The youth who liberate Libya can run it,” he says. “If we don’t let them take responsibility now, we’re going to be in trouble.”…  

  6. jsfox

    it’s a big conspiracy.

    On November 2, 2010 France and Great Britain signed a mutual defense treaty , which included joint participation in “Southern Mistral”

    (, a series of war games outlined in the

    bilateral agreement. Southern Mistral involved a long-range

    conventional air attack, called Southern Storm, against a dictatorship

    in a fictitious southern country called Southland. The joint military

    air strike was authorised by a pretend United Nations Security Council

    Resolution. The “Composite Air Operations” were planned for the period

    of 21-25 March, 2011. On 20 March, 2011, the United States joined

    France and Great Britain in an air attack against Gaddafi’s Libya,

    pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1973.

    Have the scheduled war games simply been postponed, or are they

    actually under way after months of planning, under the name of

    Operation Odyssey Dawn? Were opposition forces in Libya informed by the

    US, the UK or France about the existence of Southern Mistral/Southern

    Storm, which may have encouraged them to violence leading to greater

    repression and a humanitarian crisis? In short was this war against

    Gaddafi’s Libya planned or a spontaneous response to the great

    suffering which Gaddafi was visiting upon his opposition?

  7. fogiv

    just thought I’d toss this out to my mooselims. i’ll be dragging around the Society for American Archaeology conference for most of this week. I’m helping colleagues a little with a poster session, but because that effort was put into motion before I joined the agency, I’m not playing  much of a role. resultantly, i’ll have lots of free time to check out just about any session/symposium that I want (sweet).  anyhoo, here’s a link to the schedule (pdf):

    There are a handful that are ‘must see’ for me (either personally or professionally), but otherwise i don’t much care. if any of these look interesting let me know and maybe i’ll check one out; do a diary or something? some of these topics have broader implications that can be related to contemporary world events (e.g. Ancient Economies of Arabia: Neolithic to Early Islamic [p. 12]; Exploring Sex and Gender in Bioarchaeology [p. 12]; American Recovery and

    Reinvestment Act Projects [p. 16]; Archaeology and the New Deal: How Roosevelt’s ‘Alphabet Soup’ Programs Continue to Influence Modern Archaeology [p. 16])…you get the idea.

    any thoughts?  

  8. DTOzone

    here’s why I think the whole “bully pulpit” thing does NOT work. We know the right wing is going to believe whatever they want, but so will some on the left.

    From DKos

    I think nuance and sophistication… (2+ / 0-)

    …will be interpreted by war-weary America as hiding something.

    I’m tired of war. If Afghanistan and Iraq hadn’t happened, or had been over and done after a couple years, maybe this decision might have a chance to be seen as heroic and wise.

    As it is, it looks to me like we’re defending more oil wells. Anything less than that kind of candor from the President tonight will go in one ear and out the other.

    I’m tired of war.

    Another words, I don’t care what he says, if it means I have to change my already existing opinion, then I didn’t hear it.

    sound familiar?

  9. Long build up on the moral and ethical aspects, then strong statement of the National Interest.

    And wraps with the flag. “…to live the values we hold so dear”.

    I hope people were listening.

  10. Shaun Appleby

    On CNN having ago at Obama makes me realise why he never got past City Hall.  His idea of foreign policy is arguing with New Jersey.

  11. fogiv

    john mccain:  fuck you, you fucking sour, crotchety, insolent assflake.

    …and the rascal you rode in on.

  12. HappyinVT

    There’s been talk that he’s mulling a presidential run; could this be the first dip of the toe?

  13. HappyinVT

    0:27pm Carl Levin, a US Senator, says he may approach the US Congress seeking full congressional approval for US military action in Libya.

    Levin, a Democrat, says he will speak to Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader, about the prospects for a vote on the military action, which so far, while hotly debated, has not faced any test of approval amongst US lawmakers.

    Levin says Barack Obama, the US president, has said that he would “welcome” a vote.…  

    As Rachel mentioned last night there is no recorded vote that ties Republicans (or Democrats) to a position on our military involvement in Libya.  As the 2012 elections approach they can simply wait to see the outcome and adjust their stance accordingly.  Having a vote in the next week or so would tie them to a position.  That’s not to say anyone won’t change his/her position but it should make it harder.

  14. This article from The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information seems to be from 2004. You can see into  the regime’s mind by they way they control information:

    Oppositional websites, human rights websites, forums, news websites, and even literary websites-all of which are based abroad-soon followed in appearance. According to the groups behind these websites, the Libyan government has appointed one of the closest friends of the Libyan President Moussa Kosa to monitor oppositional websites and attempt to limit their growth.

    Moussa Kosa summoned experts from Russia, Poland and Pakistan to help block these websites. (4) He forced owners of net cafes to place stickers on computers that warn visitors from logging onto websites deemed oppositional. (5)

    Interesting to see how the availability of the Internet maps to the growing discontent. For about a decade people have been getting used to knowing more and the regime(s) have been trying unsuccessfully to stop it.

    In 1998, the number of Internet users in Libya did not exceed 100 people. By early 2001, after Internet service was extended to the public, the number reached 300,000. By mid-2003, the number was estimated to be 850,000. It is rapidly reaching one million users, an immense number considering that the population in Libya is 6 million people.

    Everything about the Arab Spring proves the old axiom:

    “The Internet perceives censorship to be damage and automatically creates routes around it.”

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant.


  15. HappyinVT

    Libya’s Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa (fabuuuulous name) has defected to Britain.

    Either he’s seen the writing on the wall or he isn’t willing to be a part of the Gaddafi regime any longer.  I hope his family is safe.

    Does anyone else think it is odd we haven’t heard from a Gaddafi in recent days?  Particularly after the president’s address.

  16. and one silly one.



    Lindsay Graham, an influential Republican senator on the Armed Forces Committee, has weighed in with CNN on the flurry of recent developments in Libya.

    Graham says there are “some very sophisticated people” leading the opposition in Libya and that he does not fear the country risks turning into an “al-Qaeda-driven state” if the rebels win:

    “You know, to be honest with you, I’m sure there are probably some people under the banner of opposition that are – that may have some al-Qaeda sympathies, but I have zero concern about this turning into an al Qaeda-driven state; and the Libyan people are not going to replace Gadhafi to be run by al Qaeda.”

    The US mission in Libya needs to be aimed more specifically at taking Gaddafi out of power by force, Graham said, using overwhelming airpower – specifically A-10 and AC-130 warplanes. He also said he considers Gaddafi an “unlawful enemy combatant.”

    How the  hell do you classify a head of state oppressing his own people an “unlawful enemy combatant?” That’s a ridiculous statement.

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