On 19 August 2011, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, Vice-Chairman of National Transition Council (NTC), the rebel group fighting against the Colonel Gaddafi regime in Libya announced that ‗The zero hour has started. The rebels in Tripoli have risen up.‘ This was followed by important gains made by the rebels in the second part of August, taking control of strategically important coastal cities of Zlitan and Zawiya. However, referring to the rebels in the capital, Tripoli, ‗Those rats were attacked by the masses tonight and we eliminated them‘, Gaddafi said. The civil uprising in Libya against the government forces have been struggling to make a decisive impact for a victory since February, even though it has been enjoying the military support of NATO since 19 March 2011. The last five months were in fact, an environment of a total military stalemate between the Gaddafi regime and NTC. With the aerial support of NATO against Gaddafi forces, the rebels have been fighting over key coastal cities between their ‗capital‘ city of Benghazi in the east and Tripoli in the west, taking control of them, but then losing them to Gaddafi forces, and then fighting over them again. Nevertheless, as of 24 August, the NTC forces are already in Tripoli and Gaddafi‘s Bab al-Aziziya compound was overrun by the rebels. On the other hand, Gaddafi vowed ‗death or victory‘ in his fight against NTC and he is believed to be somewhere in Libya. Is this the end of Gaddafi? Jonathan Marcus, BBC Diplomatic and Defence Correspondent, questioning the latest NTC gains around Tripoli as a possible beginning of the end for the Libyan conflict, adopts a cautious position by pointing out that ‗up to now the rebel fighters have often shown little military momentum, their advances evaporating almost as quickly as they are made.
Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 2 No. 3