Most commentators agree that Libya is in stalemate. But when you examine the situation in detail, it feels to me as if it may be nearing a critical tipping point where things swing decisively in favour of the pro-democracy movement. There are four areas which give hope that this might be true:
- Near Ajdabiya, there is talk of a renewed offensive. The front appears stable between Ajdabiya and Brega and there appear to have been no significant moves against Ajdabiya by pro-Gadaffi forces for some time now; some who fled are even returning to the town. Watch for: a renewed assault on Brega.
- Around Misrata, it is clear the rebels are making progress. It now appears that some (how many is unclear) pro-Gaddafi forces are surrounded at the airport and that the rebels are advancing along the coast road towards Zlitan. Hopefully, the rebels can push south enough to prevent shelling of the port. Watch for: events at the port and airport, in Zlitan and in Al Khums.
- In the Nafusa mountain region, rebels appear to have secured control of the Tunisian border crossing and Gaddifi’s forces appear not to have been able to take any of the rebel held town such as Yafran or Zintan. Watch for: events in Gharyan.
- In and around Tripoli, there appears to be increased rebel activity. Particularly, there have been rumours of rebel flags flying in parts of the city and, significantly, above Mitiga air-force base. Watch for: well, any rebel activity really.
My guess is that, when things happen, they will happen quickly. What isn’t clear is when. It could be this week or it could be weeks or even months away. Let’s hope I’m right and that it’s soon.
Update 14:28: the BBC is now reporting that rebels have taken Misrata airport.
PS I have used the word “rebels” which may upset some Libyans. But it was too unwieldy to use “freedom fighters” or “pro-democracy forces”.