News / Africa

Libyan Unrest Heightened by Information Battle

Anti-Gadhafi rebels run away as smoke rises following an air strike by Libyan warplanes near a checkpoint of the anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi rebels, in the oil town of Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya, March 7, 2011
Anti-Gadhafi rebels run away as smoke rises following an air strike by Libyan warplanes near a checkpoint of the anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi rebels, in the oil town of Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya, March 7, 2011

Libyan rebels are fighting back against government forces between Bin Jawwad and Ras Lanuf, towns marking the shifting frontlines of the past few days. 

Witnesses say Libyan warplanes struck positions around the oil port of Ras Lanuf Monday. Residents were seen leaving the town earlier, expecting an attack by pro-Gadhafi forces after assaults Sunday on other rebel-held cities.

An official in the de facto rebel administration in Benghazi conceded Monday that rebel forces had to pull back from Bin Jawwad the day before. But Khaled Sayeh, the military-civilian liaison, offers an explanation that would be incendiary if true.

Sayeh says pro-Gadhafi troops used women and children of the town as shields to protect themselves, forcing the rebels to retreat.   

Using civilians as a human shield is a war crime, and Sayeh's accusation is not the first made during the conflict.  

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi repeatedly accuses al-Qaida of fomenting the popular uprising, drugging Libyans to ensure chaos. In an interview Monday with France 24, he also accused Western media of ignoring what he called the broad support enjoyed by his government.

His is a dubious claim, given that the eastern half of Libya is now in rebel hands. But it is perhaps no less credible than the figure offered Monday by former Interior Minister Abdel Fattah Younis, a top defector to the rebel cause. He says 90 percent of the country is under opposition control.  

Everyone, it seems, has something to say about what is being said. Aimen Areibi, an air traffic controller at the now-closed Benghazi airport, says the government shutdown of the Internet and the curtailing of telephone service doesn't help.

"When there is a rumor that has been made by the government on TV, on the local TV - they say that they took Tobruk and they dropped many soldiers there to get it back - the problem is you can't ask the people in Tobruk about the situation over there to find out what's going on," said Areibi.

For all the confusion, what is clear is that some sort of impasse has been reached in the battle, with neither side appearing to give their all in the fight against their fellow Libyans. Government airstrikes miss their apparent targets with regularity. Rebels have yet to move much of the vast arsenal they have captured up to the front lines.

Not that the battles have been bloodless, as the ambulances speeding out of Ras Lanouf will attest.

Which may be why former Prime Minister Jadallah Azous al Talhi Monday called on leaders in the rebel-held east to engage in dialogue with the government. He said he is seeking open communication to end the violence.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid