Tim,Thanks for the reply.Like

Tim,

Thanks for the reply.

Like you said, Ras Lanuf and Brega are meaningless - the logistics of the move to Benghazi from Brega will be beyond any immediate lunge

I am often careless when expressing my ideas.  I didn't mean to imply that Ras Lanuf and Brega were not significant economic and therefore military objectives.  I was trying to say that their fall to loyalists was not necessarily a sign of the immediate inevitability of a Gadaffi victory.

From what I have been reading lately, those "rebels" "defending" Ras Lanuf and Brega were actually tribal irregulars (estimated by Haaretz to be between 500 and 1,000 in strength) that raced ahead of the "Benghazi army" despite their efforts to reign them in.  It is hardly surprising that they were routed if that is indeed the case.

I think that Gadaffi will probably launch an assault on Benghazi immediately.  He needs to reclaim any territory that is currently allowing forces to organize against him before they are strong enough to present an actual military challenge to his rule.  I am not sure what his force strength is, and whether or not he has the resources to hold Ras Lanuf and Brega while simultaneously launching an attack on Benghazi.

From what I understand, the "loyalists" are actually paramilitary brigades commanded by his sons.  The actual Libyan army has been ignored since being routed by Chad in the 1980s.  I referenced this earlier as "The Toyota War", which makes for interesting reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_War

I also earlier said that I thought Gadaffi would need to result to the level of brutality shown by Syria's Hafez Assad in Hama to put down this revolt:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hama_massacre

But didn't believe he would do it because it would invite foreign intervention.  Looks like I was wrong about that.  In town after town, Gadaffi has shown the willingness to break the resistence by initially shelling the commercial and residential districts simply to prove to the rebels that he was ferociously ruthless, and that they were outgunned.

With all of that in mind, I am anxious over the seige of Benghazi.  This is either going to be a turning point in the war as we see what the "Free Libyan" forces are capable of, or it will die with a whimper lest the rebels wish to see Benghazi resemble the destruction of 1945 Berlin.

I have to admit that I am having some quasi-racist thoughts concerning Arab dysfunctionality.  I have been reading about all the coups, uprisings and revolts that Gadaffi has weathered over the years, and I can't figure out why the resistence is not more coordinated in their campaign against him.  There have been coups launched by Warfallah officers, uprisings by Islamists, and intermittent revolts by easterners.  Gadaffi is hated by his own military for abandoning them after the Chadian war.  He is chagrined by his own UN ambassador.  Libyan tribal leaders have denounced him.  Yet still he marches toward Benghazi as if he were unopposed.  WTF?  Perhaps uprisings are just part of the culture in Libya, and this is far from the seminal event that we in the West are perceiving it as.

This makes me wonder what will happen when Gadaffi actually does fall.  This inability to work together for common cause is going to haunt Libya in a power vaccuum, or in any attempt to build and maintain a democracy, as alluded to in the clincher paragraph of this excellent article:

A quick overthrow of Qaddafi might not guarantee stability either. The carve-up of spoils has yet to begin. In the past, the strongman dominated; but with a more consensual politics each faction will demand its share. Oil workers will likely form unions, the army will want its reward for switching sides, and the tribes seek royalties for using their land for drilling and piping oil. They all want a greater proportion of the wealth that Qaddafi hitherto kept for himself and his allies. If any of the constituencies is dissatisfied, a central authority is likely to be too weak to prevent them from resorting to force to further their claims. Thanks, after all, to their looted caches of weapons.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/apr/07/battle-libya/?pagination=false

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