Libyan Rebels Gain Recognition but not Battlefield Success
On Tuesday, July 19, Libyan rebels suffered heavy casualties outside the city of Brega as they met resistance from a minefield and several armored brigades of Col. Muhammar Gadhafi’s troops whose vehicles were disguised with rebel flags to allow them to get close enough to inflict serious damage. The number of casualties suffered by the rebels, reported as eight on Tuesday, as well as the fact that the battle outside Brega occurred are not as significant as the situation that they have created, and that is a stalemate. Once again, Libyan rebels and Gadhafi’s forces will be locked into a battle that neither side appears to be capable of winning. Worse for the rebels, any hint of previous momentum after recent successes in the march Westward has vanished.
Tuesday’s events come on the heels of perhaps the greatest news that Libyan rebels have heard since America and NATO’s declaration that they would commit air forces to help the rebels combat Gadhafi’s troops. On Friday, July 15, Hillary Clinton announced that Libya’s Transitional National Council is now, in America’s eyes, the legitimate government of Libya rather than that of Gadhafi. Indeed, to an outsider, this news alone would immediately demonstrate the success of the rebels in separating themselves from the tyrant Gadhafi to the point that they are recognized by the international community.
However, the Libyan rebels’ battlefield failures on Tuesday, in which they were outwitted and outmaneuvered by Gadhafi’s troops and tanks, paint a different picture. For while official support and recognition from the international community can bring morale to a people and a military, it cannot help, strengthen, or guarantee the success of said military on the field of battle. Thus, when events happen such as those on Tuesday and the rebels are once again thrown into a stalemate, American official recognition does little to help or assuage the fears of the many Libyans who ponder what will become of them should Gadhafi win the war.
Many nations, such as France, Italy, Britain, and Spain, in addition to America, have officially recognized the Libyan separatists as the legitimate form of governance in Libya. These nations, some of whom are among the world’s most wealthy and powerful, have clearly stated that Gadhafi must be defeated in order to preserve the civil rights and liberties of the Libyan people. As a result of this desire, the previously mentioned states and others have provided the NATO coalition with weaponry, aircraft, and other materials to help them in the fight against Gadhafi.Continued on the next page