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Gaddafi wins more territory back as G8 meets over no-fly zone

Published time: March 14, 2011 10:45
Edited time: March 14, 2011 23:06

Colonel Gaddafi’s forces are pushing the opposition back, reclaiming more and more cities in the rebel-stronghold of the country. Meanwhile, the G8 is assembling in Paris to discuss the imposing of no-fly zone in the revolution-torn country.

­The situation on the ground in Libya is chaotic. The frontline keeps shifting forwards and backwards. The fighting continues,Gaddafi forces attacked the rebel-held town of Zuwarah. But especially hot is in the Eastern part of the country around the town of Brega. There the government forces have been shooting down the rebels’ ammunition and conducting air strikes.

The eyewitnesses report that the town is now firmly in the hands of pro-Gaddafi forces. They are slowly making their way eastward.

The oil port of Brega is a significant acquisition for Gaddafi. It is the latest in the series of set-backs to face the rebel troops who almost a week ago had most of Libya in their hands and were talking of a march to the capital city of Tripoli.

Libya’s opposition may be experiencing defeats, but government troops still appear unsure over their victory, without a plan or anyone to help them stabilize the country.

The biggest problem facing the rebels is that they are loosely organized. They lack leadership and the enthusiasm binding and motivating them up until now seems to be slowly waning.

The rebels have issued a call for the international community to impose a no-fly zone, but they emphasize that this should not lead to any kind of military foreign intervention. They are warning that if there are some kinds of international involvement, at least half a million Libyans will be slaughtered by the Gaddafi forces.

A UN delegation has arrived in Tripoli to meet with the Libyan government on Monday. They are trying to co-ordinate the relief efforts. The human rights watchdogs are warning that all the efforts by the government of stifling the opposition voices in Tripoli are alarming and dangerous.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Paris where she held unusual talks on Monday with members of the Libyan opposition and had a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. France remains the only country to recognize an interim council as Libya's legitimate government. The U.S. has yet to decide on such recognition. Later Clinton will travel to Tunisia and Egypt. Her meeting with the opposition coincides with the G8 summit, where the ministers will be discussing the implementation of the no-fly zone over Libya and some kind of foreign intervention.

The whole question of the no-fly zone is to be presented to NATO on Tuesday. France and Britain are heavily pushing it forward. The US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that the US has the ability and enough power to enforce it if the decision is indeed taken to go ahead with it.

Still, there are international communities, such as Russia, who strongly oppose any kind of foreign intervention. Nevertheless, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree banning entry to Russia to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his family and high-ranking aides.

On Saturday, the Arab League was the latest in the international community to come on board and give their note in favor of the no-fly zone, saying that Gaddafi has lost its legitimacy.

If the crisis in Libya keeps unfolding in the same manner, the analysts are warning that it can lead to a political state like in Somalia, with Eastern Libya divided into small feudal groups, each led by a warlord.

­Mark Almond, a visiting Professor in International Relations at a University in the Turkish capital, Ankara, thinks that now, when Gaddafi is still holding strong, Western states are at risk of looking foolish. It particularly  puts France and Britain in a very difficult position. “ Now we have a problem – do we want to intervene, because  a no-fly zone is a form of intervention. And if we do want to intervene – who do we want to intervene on behalf of? Maybe we all could agree in the international community, particularly the Americans and the Europeans who want to get rid of Gaddafi – but who do they want to install in his place – it’s our forces, western forces who would be doing an installation of a nwe government, and it’s a very tricky operation," says Almond.

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