Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Libya: Failure to take Misrata has damaged the regime

The current lull in the war is not a harbinger of peace. On the contrary, the stalemate over Misrata has greatly damaged the regime where, despite overwhelming advantages, they have failed, so far, to take the city. Other minor fronts are still active, notably Zintan where Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's forces still prevail.

Unrest still pervades Misrata as the opposition seek to drive back the regime troops in the Zliten and Khoms region which are regarded, for defensive purposes, as the outliers of Tripoli. The overall chances of peace are slim and both sides are licking their wounds and preparing for the next round of fighting.

The disruption of civil life extends well into Tripolitania where shortages, particularly of fuel, are causing major stress in the population. The run-down of the efficiency of other aspects of the economy from foodstuffs to banking are apparent. Libyan operations are difficult for foreign personnel and, no doubt, unprofitable.

Security for inland sites has not been established and there is little or no security for foreigners travelling in any proximity to the militarised areas even if they have security support. The southern borderlands around Zintan are the scene of severe fighting and should be avoided at all costs.

The immediate future looks very poor for foreign stakeholders in both contracting and machinery supply. In part, this is the result of the UN sanctions and but also because the import system is being bypassed by the government in favour of ad hoc purchases from suppliers who will attempt to import goods without validation.

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

© 2011 Menas Associates

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