Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libya: The Latest Update

The above map (click on it if you need to see a bigger version) shows, to the degree possible, what the opposition has taken and what Khaddaffi still holds, which is basically part of Tripoli, the port of Sidra and his desert compound in Sabha, which also is a transit point for the foreign mercenaries Khaddaffi is bringing in.

That's exactly one good reason why we need to enforce a no fly zone to stop Libyans from being butchered by foreign hirelings.

One of my sources ( confirmed by several tweets) says that Khaddaffi is threatening to destroy Libya's oil infrastructure if the opposition doesn't surrender. There's no doubt in my mind that if it comes to him being forced out of power, that's exactly what he'll attempt to do.

Khaddaffi has pledged to fight "to the last bullet and the last drop of blood" and as far as I can see, that's what he intends, because he's likely to have few other options.Private Libyan aircraft carrying his daughter in law and other high level Libyans connected to the regime were refused landing rights at Malta, and unless Khaddaffi can get to somewhere like Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, he's got no place to go.

Aside from plenty of cash to hire foreign mercenaries,Khaddaffi also has chemical weapons and gas to throw into the mix.

Today, his troops attacked al-Zawiya and other western coastal towns in an attempt to break through to Tripoli. Khaddaffi's forces here consisted of small but highly trained and well-equipped security battalions led by his closest allies, reinforced by brigades of mercenaries recruited from Chad and other African countries.Fierce fighting was reported.

al-Zawiya is home to an important tribe of the same name and a key strong point. Aside from being the home of a 120,000-barrels-a-day refinery, it's also the terminal for Libya's biggest oil and gas pipelines.If Khaddaffi can regain control over it, he ends the cutoff of Tripoli and is in a real position to make good his threat about destroying Libya's oil infrastructure.

Prior to the assault Khaddaffi spoke in a bizarre telephone call braodcast on state television, directing his 23-minute address to citizens of al-Zawiya and accusing the rebels of being under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs given to them "in their coffee with milk, like Nescafe" and under the command of al-Qaeda.

"What is this farce? You in al-Zawiya turn to bin Laden?" he said. "He brainwashed your sons."

In Tripoli itself, Kahddaffi's troops attacked a mosque where a protest was occurring, killing 15 people.

Khaddaffi still has control of Tripoli and the other enclaves mentioned above, but most of the Eastern part of the country is under rebel control.

On the diplomatic front, President Obama finally saw fit to issue a statement condemning the violence against the Libyan people, but refused to call for Khaddaffi to step down or announce any real measures against the regime. I have to wonder whether he's actually thinking about this...or whether his mind is on other, more important matters.

And the UN today announced that Libya's seat in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the UN's top human rights organization is secure.

There's supposed to be a special session of the UNHRC Friday, based on a European Union-proposed draft resolution that merely condemns human rights violations by Libya but does not call for the country to be ousted from the UNHRC. But there's no guarantee that the session will be held or the resolution voted on.

Fewer than half of the HRC’s members put their names to the request for the session, with most of the Islamic bloc voting against having it,and if comes to a vote on a resolution, members like China, Russia, Cuba, Angola, Ecuador, Thailand and Zambia invariably vote with the Islamic bloc on matters like this.

Business as usual at the UN..

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