youngsters how to operate modern weapon systems and how they are
I believe it is a mistake for them to slow down their advance. They
are not fighting against willing opponents. Not many of the soliders
and mercenaries are willing fighters. Just a little pressure, many
will rebel and run away against their masters who force them to kill
If I were one of those who are forced to handle guns, I surely will
turn against those people at the earliest opportunity. That
opportunity comes when there are opposition forces appearing. That
could be the secret of the success of the rebels. The pasifist among
the rebels should realise that peaceful demonstrations are just
useless against such a cruel regime.
A few clergy are withholding weapons from these youngsters. Heavy
weapons such as rocket launchers are safe for them because they cannot
use them to rob people that easily. So are the anti aircraft guns.
They may be obsolete but are most useful for a civilain army, no
matter how disorganised they are.
These people use their own vehicles to transport themselves and their
weapons such as these anti aircraft guns. These antiaircraft guns are
useful against helicopters that will be used against them. Without
them they will be sitting ducks.
It surprises me that many of these guns are not deployed but still
kept at the weapons depo that are slowly but surely being destroyed by
Gadafi's forces, no matter how unwilling these pilots are. It is just
strange that these pilots cannot destroy these buildings quickly. They
must have been unmotivated to destroy them. Stories about ground
sabotage is likely to be true for the explosion of the Benghazi
The Christian Science Monitor - CSMonitor.com
In disorganized surge, Libya's rebels push west along shifting front
In three days, the nominally rebel-controlled zone on the eastern
coast has extended about 150 miles. The rebels are now drawing closer
to Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown.
Temp Headline Image
Rebel fighters fire an anti-aircraft gun into the air near Bin Jawad,
By Dan Murphy, Staff Writer
posted March 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm EST
Ras Lanuf and Bin Jawad, Libya
Sitting in the bed of a pickup rumbling full throttle toward the
frontlines of the Libyan opposition's struggle against Muammar
Qaddafi, Salim Fatah bin Kayali grins into the wind and insists
"there's no stopping us now."
The bookish and deeply pious young man is sharing a 25-year-old AK-47
with a friend from his hometown of Derna and admits he's never fired
the weapon before.
He participated with rocks and Molotov cocktails in the fight to drive
Qaddafi's forces from Derna, in eastern Libya, two weeks ago, and says
he's eager to do "whatever I can for our revolution. Qaddafi is a
terrorist, and he's divided our people and stole our money for too
long." His father – who was jailed for seven years after a business
deal he made with a relative of Qaddafi's soured -- produced the old
rifle when his son insisted he was heading west.
But today, Mr. Kayali was destined for disappointment along with his
truckload of would-be rebel fighters, as the front line kept shifting
ever westward before they could catch up.
Kayali is part of a disorganized surge west of pickups, private
sedans, and ambulances carrying doctors and medical supplies. Under
way for days, it is also bringing food provided by businessmen in
Ajdabiya and Benghazi, ammunition salvaged from military bases, and
about a thousand men determined to take the fight to Qaddafi.
Related: Qaddafi: A look back
A strange, almost formless war
It's part of a strange, almost formless war that would shock the
Allied and Axis generals that contested the northern Libyan Desert for
years during fierce fighting in World War II.
The irregulars of the emerging rebel army, with limited coordination,
weak communications, and disorganized supply lines, appear to be easy
pickings for any organized military force that might oppose them. But
so far, they've gone from strength to strength against an enemy that
appears even weaker.
Starting from the oil town of Brega, which saw fierce fighting as an
incursion by Qaddafi loyalists was beaten back on Thursday, they raced
40 miles on, past the airport and oil refinery at Ras Lanuf, where
bullet casings on the ground and burned-out cars are a reminder of the
battle for control of this key city that the rebels won yesterday.
Ras Lanuf, which saw pitched battles yesterday that claimed 17 lives,
is oddly quiet, with just a few militiamen at a checkpoint. The
participants in the previous day's battle have already pushed on along
the coast. Thirty miles on comes the town of Bin Jawad, which the
rebels seized this morning without much of a fight.
Here, the rebels are massing.
A few hundred men in mismatched fatigues, hooded robes, and T-shirts
mill along the main road, burning the green flag that Qaddafi
introduced to Libya, participating in a firing squad for a poster of
Qaddafi propped up in the desert, and firing anti-aircraft guns into
the air, apparently for fun.
A group of local youths goes about the business of setting fire to the
local reading room for Qaddafi's "green book," the rambling pamphlet
he penned and that underpins his one-man rule in a town that just a
few hours before was too frightened to side with the rebels or to help
But then a rumor flashes through the group that a force of 600
"mercenaries" in Qaddafi's employ are waiting for them down the road.
The fighters with heavy-machine guns mounted in their pickups or lucky
enough to have rocket-propelled grenade launchers race off first,
followed by the rest of the odd, martial cavalcade.
Within 15 minutes, the Bin Jawad checkpoint is quiet again, a few
gunmen mixed with excited local residents. By nightfall, the group had
made it as far as Nufala, which they claimed without firing a shot in
anger. No mercenaries or other pro-Qaddafi forces were found.
Gaining 150 miles
In three days, the at least nominally rebel-controlled zone on the
eastern coast has extended about 150 miles and is now knocking on the
doorstep of Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown and his major stronghold after
the capital, Tripoli.
Back in Benghazi, civilians working with the transitional government
claim that some branches of Qaddafi's own tribe are turning against
him, and that the rush west is having a powerful effect on fence-
"It may not seem sound militarily, but I think this is working to our
advantage," says Jalal al-Gala, a businessman who acts as an informal
spokesman for the transitional government. "It sends a message we're
coming, and is encouraging people to abandon Qaddafi."
The young men, flush with easy gains, insist they're heading to Sirte
tomorrow. It's hard to imagine the town falling without a tough
struggle, filled as it is with relatives and tribesmen of Qaddafi's
who, unlike the Libyan public at large, have profited from his rule.
"Those are the people who fight for him – the ones who have gotten
money," says Abdel Hamid, a contractor from Adjabiya who's using his
truck to ferry fighters west. "The only thing the rest of us have
gotten from our oil is the bad smell and pollution in the sea."
Qaddafi forces active in rebel territory
And Qaddafi's forces are still active in eastern Libya. In Ras Lanuf,
where a crude oil pipeline ends at a refinery, a pro-Qaddafi
helicopter bombed a small ammunition dump at a military base outside
In the early afternoon here, the rebels said the anti-aircraft guns of
the rebellion claimed their first success, taking down a MIG fighter
jet and killing its two pilots. The wreckage of the plane and the dead
airmen lend support to that claim.
Now, two crucial oil depots have fallen to rebels in as many days.
Residents of Zawiya, a major oil town just west of Tripoli that has
withstood repeated attacks by Qaddafi's forces in recent days, say
government forces shelled the town with tank-fire this morning, and
claimed dozens were killed.
Related: Qaddafi: A look back
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