August 22, 2011

Libyan rebels capture Tripoli

POLITICS - Libyan rebels claimed control of the Libyan capital on Monday (today) after advancing quickly on Tripoli. The capture of the capitol heralds the fall of Moammar Gadhafi's nearly 42-year regime. Scattered battles erupted across the city, and Gadhafi whereabouts remain unknown.

The international community has repeatedly called on Gadhafi to step down. Colleagues warned Gadhafi wouldn't go easily. Two of Gadhafi's sons were captured on Sunday.

The Western Alliance is now moving ahead with postwar planning as ecstatic Tripoli residents celebrated in the Green Square, the symbolic heart of the Gadhafi regime.

The Western alliance promised to maintain its air campaign until all pro-Gadhafi forces surrender or return to barracks. NATO warplanes have hit over 40 targets in and around Tripoli since Saturday — the highest number on a single geographic location since the bombing started over five months ago, say officials.

The rebels capture of Tripoli in an hours-long blitz strike shows Gadhafi's forces are weakening and will likely face desertions soon since many of his fighters are hired mercenaries.

The rebels — mainly civilian volunteers who took up arms and had little military training — are big on zeal but short on organization and discipline, but their stunning success in Tripoli shows a high level of planning, co-ordination and discipline. They've gone from an unorganized rabble to an experienced fighting force in less than 6 months.

In London England, British Prime Minister David Cameron said frozen Libyan assets would soon be released to help the country's rebels establish order, saying Gadhafi's regime was “falling apart and in full retreat.”

Rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Rahman in Tripoli, warned of pockets of resistance and said as long as Gadhafi remains on the run the “danger is still there.”

Today at Gadhafi's longtime command centre (Bab al-Aziziya) pro-Gadhafi government tanks emerged from the complex and opened fire at rebels trying to get in. The fighting continues.

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