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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- In "Welcome to the Libyan front. Have a juice box," Murphy writes about "a rebellion desperate to press forward, but which time and again can’t get started." He returns to his hotel room to find rebels using his shower and watching TV.
Week 3, Feb. 27-March 5
Rebel requests for foreign intervention become more frequent as Qaddafi forces launch an offensive into Libya’s east. His offensive is halted by rebel forces, who manage a stunning push west over the course of three days.
March 5: Rebels take control of Bin Jawwad, about 30 miles west of Ras Lanuf. By the end of the day, rebels are not far from Sirte, Qaddafi’s hometown, which is about halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi.
March 3: Rebels stage their first counteroffensive against Qaddafi’s forces from the east, securing Brega and pushing another 40 miles west to take control of oil town Ras Lanuf.
March 1- 2: Qaddafi’s forces begin an offensive into Libya’s east, briefly wresting control of the oil town Brega from rebels. Rebels intensify their requests for foreign intervention. The US moves two warships closer to Libya in order to be in place for “humanitarian efforts” and emergency evacuations, but Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warns against implementing a no-fly zone over Libya – an option several Arab nations and members of the UN Security Council are debating.
Feb. 28: Qaddafi’s bid to retake Zawiyah is rebuffed by rebel forces, while his forces begin carrying out air strikes on other Libyan cities.
Feb. 27: Two key western cities fall to the rebels, pushing Qaddafi’s forces back to his strongholds in Tripoli and Sirte, his hometown. Rebels appoint an interim prime minister for their transitional government: former justice minister Mustafa Abd el-Jalil, who was the first of Qaddafi’s government officials to defect.
Other Monitor coverage
- Murphy writes of a “stunning shift of mood” among rebels that shows Qaddafi can no longer cow them into submission.
- Murphy explains how Qaddafi is managing to hang on to power when neither Tunisia’s Zine Abidine Ben-Ali nor Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak could.
- Sub-Saharan Africans are trapped in Libya, scared of being mistaken by rebels for Qaddafi’s mercenaries.
- Stream of refugees slows as Qaddafi apparently prevents them from crossing into Tunisia.