News / Middle East

    Analysts: Libya Faces Possible Military Stalemate

    Anti-Gadhafi rebels on an armed truck near Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya, March 7, 2011
    Anti-Gadhafi rebels on an armed truck near Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya, March 7, 2011
    Gary Thomas

    An independent analysis of the fluid military situation in Libya says the rebels are poorly organized, but have high morale as they face better-armed troops loyal to Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.  Analysts believe the ingredients are there for a prolonged stalemate.

    A report by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies says Libyan rebels have the will, but lack the means to take Tripoli, even though Gadhafi loyalists are unable to strike the decisive blow against the rebels.

    Analyst Gary Li of the Institute’s Defense and Military Analysis Program says the two sides are almost mirror images of each other.

    "While the government has the preponderance in hardware, they lack the morale to carry out any major attacks, as we are seeing in the multiple repulsions of their attacks on the towns around Tripoli," said Gary Li. "And the reverse is true for the rebel forces - while they have high morale, they lack the equipment necessary to take on a heavily urbanized and heavily defended urban center such as Tripoli.  So I think the threat is definitely there that if both sides reach a stalemate that it might stay like that for weeks, if not months."

    Drawing from satellite imagery and other sources, the institute concludes the rebels have primarily small arms, such as rocket-propelled grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns ferried around in pickup trucks.  Li says the rebels lack organization and experience.

    "At the present time, I would say that the vast majority of rebel forces that have been deployed in what is commonly referred to as ‘Free Libya’ can be described as 'ragtag.'  They do not really have much of an organizational structure, they are not trained soldiers, and the majority of them are little more than enthusiastic volunteers who have never really fired a gun in their lives, until the rebellion," he said.

    But, he adds, soldiers who have defected from the government are slowly organizing the rebels and training them in weapons use, particularly against tanks.

    Government armor is a major threat to the rebels, the institute says, as is airpower.  Li says the weaponry on the government side is old and the soldiers have basic skills, but they are still effective.

    "Training is probably quite poor by Western standards, but probably good enough for Gadhafi’s needs," said Li. "The primary factor in the units, the most important factor, is the loyalty to the regime and the respective commanders, which are Gadhafi’s sons, Gadhafi's various sons.  In terms of the equipment, they do have the crème de la crème of the military hardware, but, again, that is not really saying much."

    Gary Li says the rebels will find it hard to take Tripoli without a corresponding internal uprising in the capital.

    "The main chance of a rebel success lies in the population of Tripoli itself," he said. "It is very, very difficult even if the rebels are organized to take Tripoli and wrest control from Gadhafi’s hands if there was not simultaneously a civil revolt within the city.  And Gadhafi is highly aware of this.  Some of his best units are deployed within the city, and he is very, very reluctant to send any of them out to take part in offensives in the surrounding towns.  So this is a sign of how paranoid he is, and just how much resistance there is to the regime even now in the city of Tripoli."

    The institute says at least some of government units’ morale is low and their loyalty suspect.  The International Institute for Strategic Studies report says there have been reports of aircraft dropping their bombs miles away from their targets.   

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora