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Gaddafi Losing Hold on Libya

Muammar GaddafiThere are new signs showing that Muammar Gaddafi and his regime are folding as rebels come close to blocking supply routes. Plus, the interior minister of Libya and long-time security aide to the leader, Nasser al-Mabrouk Abdullah, has gone to Egypt in a private aircraft via Tunisia with nine members of his family. He is said to only be on holiday, but if he is found to have abandoned Gaddafi, Whitehall says this would be very significant, as he is a known hardline loyalist with experience in the intelligence and security agencies.

Rebel fighters have crossed into Zawiyah, which is only 30 miles west of capital and largest city Tripoli, and claim to nearly have complete control of the town. They are posted on both sides of a vital road supply route from the border of Tunisia. However, Gaddafi’s troops still dominate the town’s oil refinery, which is the last domestic supply of fuel for the regime. It’s been reported that snipers supporting the government have been shooting at civilians from the rooftops if they dare to go outdoors.

Due to the arrival of rebel forces in Zawiyah, Gaddafi broadcast a rebellious appeal to his supporters to remove the ‘traitors’ from their country. He told them that suffers’ blood is fuel for the battle, but most of what he said couldn’t be heard clearly due to a poor telephone line to state television.

Aside from Zawiyah, the National Transitional Council (NTC) opposing the Gaddafi regime claims to have taken Surman and that it’s close to completely overtaking Sabratha. A spokesman for the rebels said that discussions were underway for government forces to surrender. The council also issued a statement on Monday, calling on people in areas controlled by Gaddafi to organise into committees to keep some kind of security in preparation for the downfall of the regime. Additionally, it raised awareness for the need to safeguard public property – hospitals, schools, and petrol facilities.

There have also been clashes between the two sides close to the Ras Ajdir border crossing, and rebel forces are said to be pushing toward Tripoli from the south after taking the Garyan crossroads at the weekend. This cuts Tripoli off from Sabha in the south, where Gaddafi’s forces have taken over. The strategy is an attempt to cut off the supply lines for the capital and regain the initiative after military leader General Abdul Fattah Younes was killed.

The anti-government fighters believe that NATO has done its job in the war, as they bombed Gaddafit’s weapons for several days. British defence officials say that the four months of air strikes against the Libyan military had severely damaged the ability of the leader’s forces to get any operations underway. They also indicate that the rebel takeover of Zawiyah is a sign of the beginning of the end. Over 7,000 NATO attacks – 700 of them British – finally ruined the military machine and forced government troops to use pickup trucks.

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