A perspective from our Libya correspondent, an expatriate with close ties on the ground in Tripoli:
I am still in shock as to how quick and easy Tripoli fell. They had that all planned in advance and knew the situation in the city and how weak G’s forces were and so they went ahead with the attack on their own without waiting for those rebels from the surrounding towns. They’ve been arming themselves clandestinely for months smuggling weapons in and getting a lot from current army officers who secretly worked with them. They also bought some from whoever had them and was willing to get 500 dinars for each machine gun or rifle, which is a lot of money. Remember that it was G who gave these weapons to anyone who said he was a supporter of his regime and announced at one time to open the weapons depots and arm the ‘people’ to defeat the rats. What an idiot!
Things seem to be going real well so far but they need to secure the rest of the country. They definitely have the upper hand and have G and his cronies on the run… I have been really tormented in the last few days by the large # of deaths, injured, still missing and the terrible destruction in some of the cities. There have been widespread reports of horrible atrocities by the regime. It is so hard to believe that this happened in my country, home to some of the most docile and friendly people in the world. We used to hear about such atrocities in other countries but now it happened to us. We never as Libyans thought that one of us is capable of doing such evil. Sometimes I ask myself if it was worth all those deaths and casualties and grief. I grieve for all the victims and even though Libya is now free and everyone is rejoicing to me it is still really sad.
For an in-depth report on how rebels inside and outside Tripoli planned their takeover of the capital city, check out this story from Reuters:
For other views, see:
- So Far, So Pretty Good (The Economist)
- Libya: Like Norway, but Warmer (Al Jazeera)
- Finding Hope in Libya (New York Times)
- Assessing Libya (National Review)
- City Surgeon Returns to West Virginia, Reflects on Time in Libyan Prison (Charleston Gazette)