A blogger reports that anti-Gaddafi forces in Benghazi are heading to Tripoli by avoiding the stronghold of Sirte which guards the coast road along the Mediterranean Sea by travelling hundreds of kilometres to the south. This might be the easiest strategy for forward observers or emergency relief supplies but for a lengthy campaign it would be much wiser to follow the coast road and detour around Sirte much closer to the town.
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It is always wise to avoid doubling the lengths of supply-lines.
Another options is to use the port of Gasr Ahmed east of Misratah
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Either way, Gaddafi’s hold on Tripoli will be short if his old army is organized, bolstered by new recruits and closes in from all sides. The recruits can easily fill in gaps in the line while the more experienced army punches holes. The speed of the campaign will be determined by the extent to which Gaddafi has access to air-force and artillery. So far he has not been able to bring much of those assets to bear. If he does persuade loyalists the campaign could go on as long as his stockpiles last. I have not read that the anti-Gaddafi forces have much more than tanks at their disposal. Air support is essential. So far the interim government has stated they do not want foreign intervention to tip the scales. A prolonged campaign might change that position.
Recent entries in the blog state that a plane attacking the radio station at Misratah was shot down and its crew captured. Also France has sent in two planes carrying medical supplies and personnel. Good show. Better late than never. I am sure this kind of “foreign intervention” would be welcomed by the new regime. It is in everyone’s interest except Gaddafi’s club that the transition be swift. That minimizes the disruption including loss of life. Further relief items shipped by sea and air should include staple foods, communication equipment, military liason and arms as needed. The Libyan people have all the determination and manpower they need to do the hard work.
This campaign is different from the ones in Tunisia and Egypt. Gaddafi has stated publicly that he will fight to the last drop of blood and he is willing to see Libya turn into a “burning Hell”. Force must meet force.