Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The war is not going well for either side

The war is not going well for either of the two parties. The better equipped Qadhafi forces are more than holding their own in the Sirtican zone but have continued to struggle - despite their great superiority in weapons and trained personnel - to take Misrata after two weeks of heavy bombardment. The rebels' situation has been stabilised to the west of Benghazi but is only being preserved with severe losses to the volunteers.

The deadlock in the siege of Misrata, Libya's third largest city, sums up the fighting across the board but its position is parlous, given that it is cut off from the main body of the rebels and is seriously short of food, medicines and adequate armaments.

The rebels have been very slow to learn from their mistakes and their front-line fighters remain very badly organised and ill-disciplined. The hit-and-run tactics used by the volunteers are possibly attributable to the problems of a weak armoury, but are still inadequate to hold back the Qadhafi forces aligned against them. The flow of newly-trained recruits that has been promised for the front-line is gradually becoming available but has so far had little or no marked influence on the quality of the tactics that are being used.

The ultimate test of the rebels will be whether Benghazi can hold on if those sections of the army which are still under the control of the Qadhafi regime attempt to fight their way to the gates of the city. Should the support of the Arab states, the aid of NATO and the backing of the mass of the Libyan population fade with the lack of rebel military success or a period of stagnation sets in, then retaining the integrity of Benghazi will be difficult.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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