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August 22, 2011

Libya: Rebels Gain Control Of Tripoli

Looks like Obama's little "Time-Limited, Scope-Limited Military Action" is winding down as the rebels have taken most of Tripoli.

Libyan government tanks and snipers put up scattered, last-ditch resistance in Tripoli on Monday after rebels swept into the heart of the capital, cheered on by crowds hailing the end of Muammar Gaddafi's 42 years in power.

The 69-year-old leader, urging civilians to take up arms against rebel "rats", said in an audio broadcast that he was in the city and would be "with you until the end". But there was little sign of popular opposition to the rebel offensive, two of Gaddafi's sons were seized and it was unclear where he was.

Reuters correspondents saw rebel forces hunt sharpshooters from building to building. Sporadic gunfire and shelling kept civilians off the streets, waiting anxiously for the fighting to end after a brief outpouring of jubilation late on Sunday.

"Revolutionaries are positioned everywhere in Tripoli," said a senior rebel in the city, who used the name Abdulrahman.

The situation is still fluid but people are starting to tally up the winners and losers.

Personally, I think this is a big "Meh".

Yes, it's great if you are a Libyan and are tired of living in what should be a very rich country but one that has been run as the personal playground of a madman for 42 years. It's still more likely than not that it all ends in tears but like everyone else, Libyans deserve a shot at liberty and they got it the old fashion way...they earned it in battle.

And yes, from the Berlin disco bombing to Pan-Am 103, America had some unfinished business with Quadaffi. Good for Obama for playing a part in getting in on the action.

Beyond that..meh.

Obama will try and take some credit for this but only because he's a shameless SOB and he's desperate for any good news.

Before people (and by "people" I mean Democrats and the media--BIRM) rush off to give Obama credit as a modern day Stephen Decatur, let's take a stroll down memory lane.

Obama could have intervened earlier and perhaps avoided 4 months of fighting by launching a few missile and air attacks in late February when the rebels were first on the march. Instead, he took a pass and waited for almost a month until the UK and French forced the issue at the UN. His dithering and indecision reportedly annoyed Hillary Clinton so much there was talk of her looking for an exit from the administration.

Speaking of Hillary!, she was the face of this operation almost from the start. Remember how Obama got his (Cameron and Sarkosy's really) UN Resolution and skipped town for South America and then disappeared from view for a few days? In his absence it was Clinton who announced the take over of the mission by NATO and along with members of the military, was out front briefing the public on what was going on and why we were doing it.

Now President "What War?" is going to swoop in and take the credit? Obama might pass on a victory lap because things could still go to hell there but some form a victory dance will be too irresistible to him. "Thanks Hills, I have it now".

Clearly sexism is at work here!

Of course there will be an inconvenient question or two along the way. Remember what Obama eventually said about why we went to "war but no war-war" in Libya.

Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Gaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.

At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Gaddafi declared that he would show "no mercy" to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now, we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi - a city nearly the size of Charlotte - could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

Gadaffi's mere threat to kill people prompted what turned out to be almost 5 months of bombing. Meanwhile in Syria, Bashir al-Assad actually kills thousands and it take Obama longer than that to finally call on Assad to go in a written statement released between his bus tour and dashing off to the Vineyard.

So yay for Obama and NATO, they finally managed to knock off a 3rd rate dictator no one really cared about in a country with almost no US strategic interests at stake.

Meanwhile, Syria, a country and regime very much at the heart of events in the Mideast, continues to burn with almost no action by the US and its allies.

Such is the "Obama Doctrine".

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posted by DrewM. at 11:04 AM

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