Libyan Rebels Advance Westwards

Russia has criticized the air strikes that have helped the opposition gain momentum

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Here is a roundup of the latest developments in Libya:


The Libyan rebels, under the cover of western air strikes, have retaken all of Libya's major oil terminals in the east and are now moving west along the coast toward Muammar Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte. The opposition has won a string of victories in Ajdabiya, Ras Lanuf, Brega, Bin Jawad, and Nawfaliyah (in the photo above, rebels celebrate outside Ras Lanuf).

Reuters explains that if the rebels capture Sirte--a key military base between the rebel headquarters of Benghazi and Qaddafi's stronghold of Tripoli--they'd get "a psychological boost and the road toward the capital would lie open." The Independent reports that the shift in momentum toward the rebels is "palpable" and that Qaddafi's forces appear "unwilling to carry on against what are now, with the involvement of international forces, overwhelming odds." Qaddafi's forces are still bombarding the western cities of Misrata and Zintan, according to Al Jazeera.


Libyan state television is reporting western air strikes in Tripoli and the southern city of Sabha, and coalition warplanes have also attacked Qaddafi's forces near Misrata and Zintan.

On Monday, Russia's foreign minister declared that the coalition, in launching air strikes against Qaddafi's air and ground forces, was unfairly taking sides in a civil war and violating the terms of the U.N. resolution authorizing military intervention in Libya. Russia abstained from the U.N. vote, and Russian oil company Tatneft is expected to incur heavy losses because of the conflict in Libya, according to Reuters.

On Sunday, NATO announced that it would take full command of military operations in Libya. The alliance will take over the no-fly zone on Monday and the rest of the mission later in the week. NATO's secretary general told CNN that the mission was to "protect civilians against attacks. No more, no less."


Qatar has become the first Arab country to recognize the rebel council as the "sole legitimate" representative of the Libyan people. The Gulf Cooperation Council has voiced support for Qatar's decision, according to Al Jazeera. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are the only Arab countries that have agreed to help enforce the no-fly zone.

In other diplomatic news, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said his country was willing to act as a mediator in Libya in negotiations for a ceasefire, according to The Guardian


President Obama will speak about the situation in Libya at 7:30 pm ET on Monday amidst calls to clarify the U.S. mission there.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.