Libya timeline: Rebels and Qaddafi's troops still battling for Brega
Now into the eighth week of Libya's conflict, Qaddafi's troops pushed the rebels to the outskirts of Brega just as the rebels had been preparing their first oil shipment to Qatar.
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March 21-22: World leaders debate the March 17 UN resolution authorizing a no-fly zone and “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. Some leaders are turning against the resolution because they claim the operations have now gone beyond the scope of what they supported when they voted in favor of it. Meanwhile, NATO members debate whether and how to get NATO forces involved in the operation. On March 22, Qaddafi makes his first public appearance since the beginning of UN-authorized air strikes on March 19, vowing from his Tripoli compound not to surrender.Skip to next paragraph
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March 20: US and European forces execute air strikes near Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, which Qaddafi claims are actually coordinated assassination attempts. Foreign forces say they struck a military command center near the compound, while Qaddafi’s supporters insist the strikes hit the compound itself. Air strikes by US and European forces continue throughout the country.
Other Monitor coverage this week:
- Monitor reporter Scott Peterson, now posted in Tripoli, drives with a government escort from the Tunisian border to Tripoli. There is no sign of Libyan government troops withdrawing, as required by the UN resolution.
- Monitor reporter Dan Murphy writes from eastern Libya that despite the foreign intervention, rebels are struggling to make any gains against Qaddafi forces even in Ajdabiya, which hasn't had power in a week and remains largely cut off from the rest of Libya.
- Peterson observes from Tripoli that Qaddafi's rhetoric "appears disconnected from reality."
- Murphy writes that Ajdabiya will pose the real test for the question of whether NATO intervention will be enough to turn the tide in Libya.
Week 5, March 13-19
Qaddafi’s forces push hard into Libya’s east after a slow week and make it almost to the outskirts of Benghazi, the rebel stronghold. Their advance spurs a strong UN Security Council resolution that calls for “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians, including a no-fly zone. A blow-by-blow account of Qaddafi’s advance through eastern Libya is available here.
March 19: Qaddafi attacks rebel stronghold Benghazi, breaking the a ceasefire he declared the day before. World leaders meet in Paris to determine a course of action for the no-fly zone. Later that day, Western aircraft and missile strikes begin around Benghazi and along the road to Ajdabiya, leaving tanks and other vehicles belonging to Qaddafi's forces smoldering on the roads and reversing several days of gains by Qaddafi’s forces that brought them alarmingly close to retaking Libya’s entire east.