Rebels surround Tripoli

It's hard to tell how much of this is rebel propaganda and how much might be wishful thinking. But Tripoli residents report gunfire throughout the city as the rebellion has finally reached a besieged Muamar Gaddafi:

Rebel leaders in Tunis and eastern Libya hailed the beginning of a new uprising in the capital against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's rule. And after months of rebel offenses that crumbled or stalled despite heavy support from a NATO airstrike campaign, it was the first time since the uprising began in February that the rebels threatened Colonel Qaddafi's ultimate stronghold.

"We are coordinating the attacks inside, and our forces from outside are ready to enter Tripoli," said Anwar Fekini, a rebel leader from the mountainous region in western Libya, speaking by telephone from Tunis. "If you can call any mobile number in Tripoli, you will hear in the background the beautiful sound of the bullets of freedom."

Phone calls to several Tripoli residents from different neighborhoods confirmed widespread gunfire and explosions. And there were reports of frequent NATO jet overflights and airstrikes - a common accompaniment to the drumbeat of the rebel advance in the past week.

Note that the rebels are still outside of the city. The uprising in Tripoli appears to have been made up of locals or perhaps guerilla units that infiltrated the city in the last few weeks.

Gaddafi may unleash one final spasm of violence against his own people - a worry of both NATO and the UN who appear to be on the verge of accomplishing their goal of eliminating the dictator. But judging by the nature of the opposition, NATO may look back on the fight to remove Gaddafi as the easy part of the operation. Islamists, fundamentalists, tribal rivalries, and a pitifully small number of more secular, democratic figures all portend trouble for the alliance and the UN in the aftermath of the Libya operation.


It's hard to tell how much of this is rebel propaganda and how much might be wishful thinking. But Tripoli residents report gunfire throughout the city as the rebellion has finally reached a besieged Muamar Gaddafi:

Rebel leaders in Tunis and eastern Libya hailed the beginning of a new uprising in the capital against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's rule. And after months of rebel offenses that crumbled or stalled despite heavy support from a NATO airstrike campaign, it was the first time since the uprising began in February that the rebels threatened Colonel Qaddafi's ultimate stronghold.

"We are coordinating the attacks inside, and our forces from outside are ready to enter Tripoli," said Anwar Fekini, a rebel leader from the mountainous region in western Libya, speaking by telephone from Tunis. "If you can call any mobile number in Tripoli, you will hear in the background the beautiful sound of the bullets of freedom."

Phone calls to several Tripoli residents from different neighborhoods confirmed widespread gunfire and explosions. And there were reports of frequent NATO jet overflights and airstrikes - a common accompaniment to the drumbeat of the rebel advance in the past week.

Note that the rebels are still outside of the city. The uprising in Tripoli appears to have been made up of locals or perhaps guerilla units that infiltrated the city in the last few weeks.

Gaddafi may unleash one final spasm of violence against his own people - a worry of both NATO and the UN who appear to be on the verge of accomplishing their goal of eliminating the dictator. But judging by the nature of the opposition, NATO may look back on the fight to remove Gaddafi as the easy part of the operation. Islamists, fundamentalists, tribal rivalries, and a pitifully small number of more secular, democratic figures all portend trouble for the alliance and the UN in the aftermath of the Libya operation.


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