Qatar: Special Delivery to Libya

There’s a report that six pickups loaded with ammunition were unloaded from a Qatari plane at Misurata. The rebels seem to use mostly AK-47 and FAL rifles in pictures I have seen so a round of ammunition probably averages something like 200 grains/13 grammes. Six pickups could hold 500 kg or so of ammunition each so we are considering something like 240K rounds of ammunition. That should keep them going a few days… and get them a lot closer to Tripoli.

With this lubrication of the wheels of war, Tripoli could be besieged within a few weeks. At that point we should see whether the population of Tripoli wants to die for Gaddafi or freedom. There have been reports that citizens are armed but I doubt Gaddafi would last long with that being true. The rebels are showing much improved tactics and persistence. With some supplies they can keep increasing the pressure. Shortly, Gaddafi’s freedom of movement within Libya will be extremely restricted and the last choices will be made. I can see the pace of battle increasing as Tripoli becomes surrounded. Gaddafi’s best troops will be pulled back to hold the fort and the rebels will taste victory. If Gaddafi cannot shell the city within which he hides, the end is in sight. In the smaller towns, Gaddafi’s troops have shelled any town in which the rebels reside. They cannot do that if they are trapped in a small circle of Tripoli.

Rather than a war of attrition in Tripoli, I see Gaddafi’s forces turning on him and opening the city. Hiding behind civilians cannot work for long at close quarters in a siege. The civilians will rebel.

Gaddafi’s chief advantages over the rebels has been superior artillery. In a city, Gaddafi can use that to harass rebels approaching the city but once inside, Gaddafi will be limited to mortars and point-blank firing with NATO fighters able to concentrate on a small area with excellent air-support. Basically, Gaddafi’s artillery will become one-shot wonders. NATO will be able to spot firing and follow projectiles with radar. There won’t be any way to hide and to retain effective artillery fire at the same time. Rebels can use buildings as cover and out-maneuver the cumbersome artillery. Mortars are pretty useless against attackers inside buildings. Larger artillery is too big to hide. Embedding it in a building limits its field of fire. The rebels took Misurata despite heavy artillery fire and sniping.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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8 Responses to Qatar: Special Delivery to Libya

  1. Linux Apostate says:

    Riots in London over the last few days, by the way. Maybe NATO should arm the British “rebels” and help them overthrow the British government?

  2. Linux Apostate says:

    Measured how? Did anyone hold an election?

    Or are these just the numbers reported by the rebels themselves?

  3. Benghazi – 671K
    Misurata – 550K
    Ajdabiya – 77K
    Az Zawiyah – 291K
    Tobruk – 115K
    Dozens of smaller communities and many of the tribes…

    Out of a population of 6 million, it is not a tiny minority.

    Tripoli – 1000K
    Sirte – 75K

  4. Linux Apostate says:

    Really, so the Western intervention was unnecessary but we did it anyway? That still looks bad.

    I think the rebels were depending on Western aid. They were a small minority, but they knew that if they could engage the power of the Western media, they could (a) appear to represent the majority, and (b) force Western governments to help them. They had only to provoke Gaddafi to take action against them, get themselves on CNN, and the Americans and the British would back their coup. Unfortunately for most of the Libyan people, they succeeded, and now this country is a warzone again after 40 years of peace. Ho hum.

  5. Libyans had had enough and the war was inevitable. Gaddafi had weakened the military to the extent that it could not hold the country together by force. He did not trust the army but relied on “elite” units to keep him in power. The situation was unstable from many angles: squabbling over succession when he died eventually, tribalism, young turks, etc. It was going to happen. Tunisia or Egypt or foreigners did not cause it. Gaddafi did by making a country dependent on him.

  6. Linux Apostate says:

    Wars end when they are won. Without Western intervention Gaddaffi would quickly have ended it.

    Would he have killed the rebels? Of course! And that would have been an end to the matter. Back to normal for 99.9% of Libyans, who (I might add) would greatly prefer not to be living in the warzone that their country has become.

    Would the fighting have spread to every city in Libya? Would the body count be so high? Of course not! That only happened because the West enabled it by providing weapons, air support, bombing campaigns and other assistance. What would have been over in a few weeks was instead dragged out for – what is it, seven months now? And you’ve been writing about how it’s going to end any moment for most of that time.

  7. The civil war would have happened anyway and the body-count may well have been higher if Gaddafi had been allowed to kill all those who disagreed with him. What do you think those tanks were going to do in Benghazi?

  8. Linux Apostate says:

    I wish I could adequately convey how sad I feel at the realisation that, so soon after Iraq, the same mistakes have been made again. One moment the politicians are acknowledging that they got it wrong, the next, they are repeating the same error and being cheered along by some of the same people who marched against Iraq.

    That is, liberals who suddenly find that neo-con politics aren’t different from their own, and that interventionist war is only a bad idea when Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush are involved.

    It is profoundly depressing to think how many must have died or had their lives utterly destroyed as a result of this Western intervention, which caused a localised disturbance to escalate to nationwide civil war.

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