Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Pro Khadafi Forces Fail To Recapture Key Towns; Fighting Continues; Death Toll 6,500+?

Mumar Khadafi's loyalists and hired thugs were unable to retake a key town near Tripoli despite attacking from several different directions.
Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi tried to retake a town near the capital that is in opposition control but were repelled, an opposition leader in the town told CNN Tuesday.

Pro-Gadhafi troops with tanks and anti-aircraft guns attacked Zawiya from both east and west as night fell Monday, but did not capture the town, a short drive from the capital Tripoli, the source said.

Zawiya is calm Tuesday, but Gadhafi's troops remain outside it, the opposition leader and another source in the town said. CNN is not naming them to protect their safety.

In London, meanwhile, the Libyan embassy said it was siding with the opposition, condemning what it called "all acts of murder and terror " taking place in their homeland.

More European countries and companies froze assets belonging to Gadhafiand his family. Austria's central bank said it was freezing all assets held by the family, while Germany said it was freezing two million euros ($2.76 million) belong to one of Gadhafi's sons, without specifying which.
Khadafi continues to dismiss the international pressure on his regime, the fact that his diplomatic corps has deserted him, the army has largely abandoned him, and that his loyalists are being outnumbered to the point where he needs to bring in mercenaries.

Perhaps Khadafi thinks that his stature is enhanced by standing up to the West, but this isn't about standing up to the West, it's about the brutal crackdown against his own countrymen. He's far from being loved in his own country, and while those involved in his cult of personality are playing into his deranged worldview, the number of people formerly involved with his regime continues to grow (via BBC):
1423: Libya's two state television channels have been broadcasting programmes and phone-ins expressing support and allegiance for Col Gaddafi, BBC Monitoring reports. They have also shown pictures of families receiving the payouts announced by the government recently, and denied a military aircraft crashed near Misrata. The state newspaper al-Jamhariya is meanwhile reporting on a US-led conspiracy against national unity.
1418: Staff Brig Gen Mansour Mohammed Abu Hajar, head of the Libyan army's armoured vehicles and infantry division in Benghazi, has told al-Arabiya that he and the division's personnel have joined the rebels. "[We] announce our joining of this blessed revolution, which we hope God Almighty will grant success and victory. We denounce the killing and the extermination of defenceless youths by the security brigades and hired mercenaries. I and all the division's personnel put ourselves at the disposal of this glorious revolution," he says.
Khadafi is busy trying to shroud this situation in a cloak of conspiracies against his regime, which all but ignores the plight of the Libyan people and the brutal way his government has cracked down against protesters demanding more rights, economic opportunities, and freedoms. The Army's defections show just how great the disconnect is between Khadafi and his people.

Meanwhile, the nuclear disarmament deal carried out under President Bush takes on renewed significance considering the perilous security situation. There are still concerns over Libya's chemical weapons inventory, but thus far there have been no indications that those items have been moved or dispersed.

The NY Times reports on Khadafi whitewashing reports of protests and uprisings in Tripoli, including the actual use of paint to cover anti-Khadafi graffiti in the city ahead of journalists gaining access with minders in tow.

To keep track of what's going on and where, the NY Times has a great feature showing updates by country.

According to sources available to Gulf News, the death toll from fighting in Libya and the ongoing protests is more than 6,500.

The U.N. General Assembly has suspended Libya from its seat on the 47-member Human Rights Council. However, the Security Council has ruled out the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya for the time being.

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