» Who has the upper-hand? It appears that the rebels do, though it’s murky. Yesterday, some rebel forces in the city claimed it was “free” of pro-Gaddafi forces, but others claimed it might be a “trick” by to lull rebels into a false sense of security. Gaddafi forces claim to have laid down their arms to allow local tribes to settle their differences peacefully, but plan to arm the tribes if an agreement isn’t reached. Despite these claims, the violence rages on in dramatic fashion. And of course, there’s the wildcard — drone strikes.
The brother leader’s delegation has accepted the roadmap as presented by us. We have to give cease-fire a chance.South African President Jacob Zuma • Pushing to get folks to back a peace plan that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has agreed to. The plan, which could lead to a cease-fire, may be just what Libya needed. Now we’re sure Zuma, representing the African Union, probably has a better handle on Gaddafi than most, but we’re going to say that this probably isn’t going to be particularly effective. And Zuma has a history of backing a soft-pedal approach to leaders that probably don’t deserve it. Robert Mugabe for starters. We’re sure Morgan Tsvangirai feels pretty good about Zuma’s help in that situation right now. source (via • follow)
» That’s what NATO says, at least. NATO Brigadier General Mark van Uhm made the claim to a bunch of reporters in Brussels. That said, though, some of Gaddafi’s tactics have made it harder for NATO to attack. ”The operational tempo remains, but we have seen a change of tactics (from Gaddafi),” van Uhm said. ”When human beings are used as shields we don’t engage.”
» Complicating the situation is the fact that Gaddafi doesn’t have two sons total—he’s got seven, including one who controls his own militia. Seif and Saadi are the only two known to support the proposal. Will the other brothers get on board, or will the country’s power struggles spread from the streets to the Gaddafi family? As we find ourselves saying at just about every juncture in this increasingly complex and unpredictable conflict, only time will tell.
These are real thugs. They’re really people who shoot first and ask questions later…there was so little organization and absolutely no command structure going on.Tyler Hicks, one of the reporters kidnapped by the Libyan military • Reflecting on the nature of his captors. Hicks and three others were held for six days by Gaddafi’s forces before being released. source (via • follow)
are cia operatives on the ground in libya? Yes, according to an anonymous American official and former US intelligence officer. It’s unclear, however, what type of operatives they are, and what exactly they’re doing. Details are sketchy at this point, but they apparently helped rescue one of the American soldiers who had to eject from his F-15 on day one of the engagement. We’re going to hold off on drawing any conclusions here until more solid information comes in. source
At this point, in addition to maintaining a no-fly zone protecting civilian populations, we also have political tools, diplomatic tools, sanctions freezing his assets — all of which continue to tighten the noose. And so our expectation is that as we continue to supply steady pressure, not only militarily but also through these other means, that Gaddafi will ultimately step down.President Barack Obama • Offering a follow-up to the sentiments he made last night about the American military action in Libya. While Obama says he was reluctant to start another military campaign, here we are — Obama emphasizing that we could “save a lot of lives” in Libya. Doesn’t this contradict all the stuff he’s been saying about this being a specific mission with a limited scope? source (via • follow)
» Amongst the arrested: The son of a high-ranking Libyan police officer. Also, the woman’s family says that government employees (some of whom have accused her of being a “known prostitute and thief,” as if that’s at all relevant) have offered her money and a house if she retracts her allegations. Something tells us she won’t.
We have been careful about this. It’s almost as though some people here are taking at face value Gaddafi’s claims about the number of civilian casualties, which, as far as I’m concerned, are just outright lies.Defense Secretary Robert Gates • Complaining loudly about reports of civilian casualties caused by Operation Odyssey Dawn. Gates denies the claims. “It’s perfectly evident that the vast majority — if not nearly all civilian casualties —have been inflicted by Gaddafi,” he says. Now, this isn’t to say that he’s wrong … but we have to imagine it’s kind of hard to be careful with anything like a Tomahawk missile. It’s a rough road. source (via • follow)