Libya: between Ajdabiya and New York
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the opposition in eastern Libya and the US, Britain and France have established channels of communication as a first step towards the belated implementation of a no-fly zone.
Meanwhile forces loyal to Muammar Gheddafy have engaged rebels in the town of Zuwarah in western Libya in what is an obvious bid to secure all the coastal area between Tripoli and the Tunisian border.
More vital for the future of the insurrection is the future of the eastern town of Ajdabiya (population c. 135,000). Gheddafy’s air force this morning struck this last significant stronghold on the way to Benghazi, the seat of the opposition’s National Council, about 160 km to the east.
Although the rebels cannot match the regime’s firepower and are almost helpless against air strikes and bombardment of their positions from the seaward side by Gheddafy’s navy, their morale appears to be high. As loyalist forces were pounding Ajdabiya, opposition units sped towards Brega in a bid to retake it.
Former Libyan regular army personnel are finally beginning to take a leading role in organising the defences of Ajdabiya and Benghazi.
Meanwhile the UN Security Council in New York is debating behind close doors whether to authorise a no-fly zone or otherwise. Resolutions need nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the five permanent members.
The game, then, is being played in Ajdabiya and New York.
WE SALUTE ALI HASSAN AL JABER
… the Al Jazeera cameraman, a Qatari national, who has been murdered in what is believed to have been an ambush near Benghazi in eastern Libya. He is believed to be the first journalist killed in covering the current crisis in Libya.