Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Arite-up on crisis in Libya as flashed on the f.b. on March 25,2011.

Bishwa Nath Singh

International air strikes forced Muammar Gaddafi’s tanks to roll back from the western city of Misrata in Libya on March 23,2011 giving respite to civilians who had endured more than a week of attacks and a punishing blockade. Nato ships patrolled off Libya’s coast as the Barack Obama administration said the US was prepared to relinquish leadership of the campaign by the end of the week.

(Photo of damages caused by air-strikes in Libya)

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Bishwa Nath Singh
Gaddafi’s forces appeared to weaken in the western region that has been his stronghold, and diplomats neared agreement to let Nato assume responsibility for the no-fly zone. Both the UN-backed force and rebels, who took tentative steps towa...rds forming an administration in the east today, appeared to be preparing for a long battle. But the US made it clear that others would have to lead the way, as defense secretary Robert Gates said the US could turn over control of the operation as soon as Saturday. He had no answer when asked about a possible stalemate that could occur if Gaddafi hunkers down, and the coalition has no UN authorization to target him. Speaking from the US command ship in the Mediterranean, Rear Admiral Gerard Hueber said the coalition was targeting Gaddafi’s mechanized forces, his artillery and mobile missile sites as well as ammunition and other military supplies. He said coalition forces have moved west to try to protect Ajdabiya and Misrata.A doctor in Misrata said the tanks fled after the air strikes began around midnight, giving a much-needed reprieve to the city, which is inaccessible to human rights monitors or journalists. He said the air strikes, which Canada said were from its pilots, struck the aviation academy and a vacant lot outside the central hospital. on March 23,2011, for the first time in a week, the bakeries opened their doors,” the doctor said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals if Gaddafi’s forces take the city. He said the situation was still dangerous, with pro-Gaddafi snipers shooting at people from rooftops.” We fear the tanks that fled will return if the air strikes stop,” he said. Gaddafi made his first public appearance in a week late hours of March 22,2011, after explosions sounded in Tripoli. State TV said he spoke from his Bab Al-Aziziya residential compound, the same one hit by a cruise missile on Sunday night. “In the short term, we’ll beat them, in the long term, we’ll beat them,” he said. The withdrawal of the tanks from Misrata was a rare success for the rebels. The disorganized Opposition holds much of the east but has struggled to take advantage of the international air campaign that saved them from the brink of defeat. U.S.President Barack Obama told the Spanish-language network Envision that a land invasion was “absolutely” out of the question.Asked what the exit strategy is, he did not lay out a vision for ending the international action, but rather said: “The exit strategy will be executed this week in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment.” Neither the rebels nor Gaddafi have mustered the force for an outright victory, raising concerns of a prolonged conflict in the cities were they are locked in combat, such as Misrata and Zintan in the west and Ajdabiya, a city of 140,000 that is the gateway to the east.In Zintan, a resident said Gaddafi’s forces were at the base of a nearby mountain and were shelling in that area, but rebels forced their retreat from all but one side of the city. After five days of fighting, resident Ali al-Azhari said, rebel fighters captured or destroyed several tanks, and seized trucks loaded with 1,200 Grad missiles and fuel tanks. They captured five Gaddafi troops. Pro-Gaddafi troops who have besieged Ajdabiya attacked a few hundred rebels on the outskirts today. The rebels fired back with Katyusha rockets but have found themselves outgunned. Plumes of smoke rose over the city, which is 150km south of the de-facto rebel capital of Benghazi.People fleeing the violence, said the rebels controlled the city centre while Gaddafi’s forces were holding the outskirts. The pro-Gaddafi forces are just shooting everywhere. There is no electricity, the centre of the city has been totally destroyed, even the hospital has been hit,” 28-year-old Hafez Boughara said as he drove a white van filled with women and children on a desert road to avoid the main highway. In Benghazi, the de facto capital of the uprising, the rebel council created a governing body in a new effort to organize the often-chaotic movement. Allied forces have destroyed the Libyan air force and are flying with impunity across its airspace, attacking ground troops wherever they threaten the civilian population, a senior British commander said today. Air Vice Marshal Greg Bagwell said: “Effectively, their air force no longer exists as a fighting force.” Let us hope that good sense will prevail on all to turn the war in Libya into peace and sort out their point of contention through mutual dialogue to reach to an amicable settlement!
March 25,2011

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