What the NFZ has accomplished so far

Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone | Informed Comment


9. Instead of being a base for attacks on Tobruk and Benghazi as it was only a week ago, the major oil city of Ajdabiya has been turned into an arena of contest between the freedom movement amateur fighters and the rump pro-Qaddafi armored brigades. While pundits in the US are asking why Ajdabiya hasn’t already fallen (the Libyan army has tanks, the rebels have old rifles), the real question is how long the pro-Qaddafi forces can hold out if a no-drive zone is enforced against them by the UN allies. Ajdabiya is strategically important as the cross-roads of routes leading to some 6 major cities, but it is also a major oil city. Possession of it would much strengthen the liberation movement.

10. Now that Benghazi is not being aerially bombed nor besieged by tanks and heavy artillery, the liberation movement’s leadership has been able to meet and announce a transitional governing council, in a bid to get more organized. I saw the press conference on Aljazeera Arabic. They underlined that it is not a declaration of a government and it is not separatist. Tripoli, they insist, is the capital of Libya.

The liberation movement at the moment likely controls about half of Libya’s population, as long as Misrata and Zintan do not fall. It also likely controls about half of the petroleum facilities. If Benghazi can retake Brega and Ra’s Lanouf and Zawiya, Qaddafi soon won’t have gasoline for his tanks or money to pay his mercenaries. Pundits who want this whole thing to be over with in 7 days are being frankly silly. Those who worry about it going on forever are being unrealistic. Those who forget or cannot see the humanitarian achievements already accomplished are being willfully blind.


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