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LIBYA UPDATE: MARCH 5TH, 2011


Qaddafi's forces have consolidated control over Tripoli and have begun launching attacks against Zawiyah. Qaddafi's troops arguably won the battle yesterday, but had to pullout to the perimeter where they have encircled the city (likely because of supply issues). So at this point, Qaddafi controls Tripoli, Zawiyah, the Tunisia crossing, Mellitah, Sabratha, Gharyan, and Surt (aka Sirte). Qaddafi is making a comeback in the West.

However, the rebels still control the east and half of the west. The primary obstacle to the ragtag rebel army's assault on Tripoli is Qaddafi's hometown of Surt, which remains solidly in government hands. Surt is situated on the coast right between the east and the west. If the rebels have any chance of moving on Tripoli they have to take the city.

The rebel army has grown larger and more organized and after a day-long battle managed to take Qaddafi's last stronghold in the east, the oil town of Ras Lanuf. Ras Lanuf was the last obstacle between rebel territory and Surt. With Ras Lanuf in rebel hands, they now control virtually all of the oil and are in striking distance of Surt. Expect to see a bloody battle in Surt in the coming days.

In the map below rebel towns are represented by red squares and government-controlled towns by black squares:


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