Libyans started the rally for a change in government from the 4 decades of dictatorial government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi (Moammar Gadhafi or Ghaddafi or Gaddafi or Gaddhafi) to a civilian-democratic government on February 2011, after the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt stepped down from their seats.
The peaceful protest became a civil war between the opposition and the forces loyal to Qaddafi’s government. But due to the “no mercy” operation of the Libyan forces against the opposition and the rebels, the UN through a resolution authorized the international military intervention in Libya.
The anti-Ghaddafi protest started on February 15.
On February 23, dozens of protesters were killed as the snipers and government security forces fired at them. Some government officials stepped down from their posts and called the government response to protests as “crimes against humanity and crimes of war“.
Part of the Ghaddafi’s forces deflected to the opposition.
On Thursday night (March 17), the Security Council resolution called for an immediate ceasefire and authorized all necessary measures for protecting civilians in Libya from Gaddafi’s forces.
Gaddhafi immiediately announced a ceasefire. But in reality, his loyal forces continued its operation, entering and shelling the rebel held city of Benghazi and Misurata.
The declaration of ceasefire is actually part of the strategy of Gaddhafi, so that the UN forces will not immediately impose the no-fly zone. With this, his forces and military equipments can position inside the city. Thus, making it hard for the Western forces to attack them, noting that the international forces will not attack them if civilian casualties as collateral damage is high.
On Friday (March 18), France, Britain and the US warned Gadhafi of the military intervention if he will ignore the UN resolution.
On Saturday (March 19) the Western forces led by the US implemented the no-fly zone with the code name “Operation Odyssey Dawn” or OOD. US and British submarines and warships sent more than a hundred of its Tomahawk missiles on selected targets such as Libya’s air defence system in Tripoli and Misrata. French plane bombers including a stealth one bombed Gadhafi’s tanks and armored vehicles outside the rebel-controlled city of Benghazi.
The overnight bombing resulted to at least 50 people died and at least 150 injured according to the Libyan government report, but it’s not verified.
Revolutionary fighters are advancing back to the Ajdabiyah, while government forces entered the city of Misrata with its snipers positioned on buildings’ roof backed by the tanks on the ground.
On March 24, the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) agreed to take command of the operation. The US made it clear already a day after the OOD that its leadership on the implementation of the no-fly zone is just temporary and will be transferred to its allies.
Rebels Push to Tripoli
The aim of the armed protesters is to capture Tripoli and put Ghaddafi into trial. Tipoli is still the planned capital for the Libyan democracy government which will rule the entire Libya.
On March 26, the rebel forces took the city of Ajdabiya from the control of the Ghaddafi forces who retreated after the rebel fought them while International fighter planes bombed them.
The opposition fighters recaptured the town of Brega in the east and the strategic oil port of Ras Lanuf.
By Sunday (March 27), the Libyan rebels captured the town of Bin Jawad and they continue to march to Sirte. But while on the road to Nofilia, they were under the heavy machine-gun fire from the loyalist of Ghaddafi. The rebels panicked the rebels who fled disorderly. Some of their pick-up trucks were destroyed.
Provisional Transitional National Council
The Libyan rebel organized a transitioning government of Libya with its main office in Benghazi . It has 30 members. Each of them is the representative of each of the towns and cities of Libya. However, only 13 of them are publicly identified (in late March) because it’s not safe to identify members in the areas under the control of Ghaddafi’s men.
France was the first to recognize the PTNC as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people. On March 28, Qatar recognized it too.
On April 1, the Libyan Rebel government offered ceasefire to Ghaddafi’s government but with a condition that forces loyal to Ghaddafi should moved out of the ceased cities and town. Ghaddafi on the other hand rejected the offer and considered it a trick and is not offering peace.
Libyan Rebel Fighters Hit By Western Attack
On April 1, 2011 (Friday) rebels reported that at least 10 rebel fighters were killed after the NATO aircraft bombed a convoy of rebels’ vehicles outside Brega.
The convoy was actually heading to the town of Brega when one of them fired anti-aircraft gun. It was not yet clear if it was accidental or a supporter of Ghaddafi joined the group and fired the gun. After that, the NATO plane came and drop bombed into them.
- Libyan Revolution 2011