2011 Libyan Civil War, as of today

UPDATE: I see that people are still arriving here from Google. 

This blog entry is from March 6 – ancient history. Please click here for my latest on Libya and here for the most up-to-date map.

Unmodified Original Entry Continues…

This is my estimation as to who currently controls what in Libya, and the disposition of Gaddafi’s three key ground units. Sources are Al Jazeera, the BBC, Reuters, and The Guardian.

The Khamis Brigade, the personal toy of one of Gaddafi’s sons, is personally loyal to the regime.

The name of the unit that formerly guarded Libya’s nuclear research facility is unknown, but it was defeated by Rebel forces at Brega and Ra’s Lanuf. I’ve called it “NWG Unit” here, for “Nuclear Weapons Guards”.

The Amazonian Guards, comprised of hot women in stilettos (yes, really), is the personal guard of Gaddafi and can be assumed to be personally loyal to him.

Map of the Libyan Civil War, as of 5 March 2011

(Original map can be found here)

From Gaddafi’s Perspective:

The NWG unit has been defeated twice, and is likely demoralized. If they lose Surt, they will have no where left to retreat to except into the waiting hands of Rebels in Misratah.

The Khamis Brigade needs to hurry and secure Zuwarah, so they can turn around and take Misratah and the surrounding cities in order to give NWG friendly forces to retreat to.

He also has a force of mercenaries in Tripoli that is currently being paid out of the USD and Euros Gaddafi has stashed away in his palace. They have demonstrated a willingness to shoot on protesters, but Gaddafi isn’t sure if they can be counted on to conduct offensive operations against the well armed Rebels.

Before the Rebels have a chance to consolidate, Gaddafi needs to take Misrata and the surrounding area in order to allow his Khamis and NWG forces to link up and take the initiative back.

The Libyan Air Force lost it’s last Mirage F1 on the 2nd, and now only has ground attack craft from the 60s. By contrast, Rebel SAM and AA guns are from the 70s and 80s – more modern than the aircraft they will be shooting at. After the US Airstrike in Libya in ’86, if there is one thing Gaddafi made sure worked well it was his AA guns and SAMs. Many of those assets are now in Rebel hands, and capable of downing his remaining fixed wing aircraft.

From the Rebel Perspective:

The lack of a unified command structure is crippling. Every time a Libyan Air Force jet flies overhead, every Rebel with a SAM or AA gun rushes to the scene leaving all other areas undefended. It’s like a children’s soccer game,with a mob of children simply following the soccer ball around instead of manning their assigned positions on the field.

No Rebel commander ordered the attack on Ra’s Lanuf, Rebel troops did that on their own. Furthermore, during the Battle of Brega, the Rebel Colonel was in the process of telling foreign reporters that he planned to assault a government position in the morning… at the exact same time as he was saying that, “his” troops went ahead launched the attack on their own and won.

It’s good that they won both of these unordered assaults, but bad that none of the Rebel commanders actually know the disposition of their forces. There have been calls for American air support (calling it a “no-fly zone”), but if Rebel commanders do not know where their forces are, any American air support may end up attacking the wrong side. If a Rebel commander tells the American ATO or liaison officer “I have no forces at X, so any troops you see there are government troops”, he needs to be able to actually know that to be the case.

Another problem with the “no-fly zone” option is that the Rebels cannot be assumed to be well trained enough to distinguish an American F/A-18 from one of Gaddafi’s MIGs, nor can communication be assumed to be effective enough for all Rebel forces to be advised of the imminent arrival of a US aircraft. The US either risks being shot at by Rebels, or it destroys the Rebel AA guns – killing Rebels in the process. Both are bad options.

Consolidation needs to occur, and a unified command structure needs to be put in place. Democracy is great for civil life, but an armed force organized in any fashion aside from dictatorship is inefficient.

2011 Libyan Civil War, as of today

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