How The Rebels Brought Down Tripoli

Tripoli

Photo: شبكة برق | B.R.Q via flickr

Having spent the past two weeks with rebel leaders in Libya, as well as in Tunisia and Egypt, where more opposition leaders bide their time, I am less surprised than most by the rapid assault on Tripoli and the seemingly imminent collapse of Gaddafi.First, I saw firsthand the level of coordination between NATO and the Libyan opposition’s Transitional National Council, and its systematic strategy of capturing, controlling, and then protecting liberated land. Compared with the ragtag back-and-forth fighting we saw in the early days of the uprising, the opposition forces in the western front used different tactics and organised themselves better. Clearer command and control meant better coordination and steady progress.

The fact is, Tripoli was never meant to be invaded from the east regardless of how much the rebel fighters wished for that. So for months, while the Al-Briga battles raged in the east, the rebels in the west trained in the Nafoosa mountain camps. The new philosophy: train forces who can sneak back to their own cities, well armed, in order to fight from within the cities when the time comes. This past week, these new brigades—Zawiyah, Tripoli, and Gharayan—demonstrated the fruits of this tactic.

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