Other Monitor coverage this week:
- Monitor reporter Scott Peterson, now posted in Tripoli, drives with a government escort from the Tunisian border to Tripoli. There is no sign of Libyan government troops withdrawing, as required by the UN resolution.
- Monitor reporter Dan Murphy writes from eastern Libya that despite the foreign intervention, rebels are struggling to make any gains against Qaddafi forces even in Ajdabiya, which hasn't had power in a week and remains largely cut off from the rest of Libya.
- Peterson observes from Tripoli that Qaddafi's rhetoric "appears disconnected from reality."
- Murphy writes that Ajdabiya will pose the real test for the question of whether NATO intervention will be enough to turn the tide in Libya.
Week 5, March 13-19
Qaddafi’s forces push hard into Libya’s east after a slow week and make it almost to the outskirts of Benghazi, the rebel stronghold. Their advance spurs a strong UN Security Council resolution that calls for “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians, including a no-fly zone. A blow-by-blow account of Qaddafi’s advance through eastern Libya is available here.
March 19: Qaddafi attacks rebel stronghold Benghazi, breaking the a ceasefire he declared the day before. World leaders meet in Paris to determine a course of action for the no-fly zone. Later that day, Western aircraft and missile strikes begin around Benghazi and along the road to Ajdabiya, leaving tanks and other vehicles belonging to Qaddafi's forces smoldering on the roads and reversing several days of gains by Qaddafi’s forces that brought them alarmingly close to retaking Libya’s entire east.