Reason for Gadaffi collapse
August 23, 2011 3:50 PM   Subscribe

I should be more plugged into the news, but at the beginning of the summer the story in Libya was stalemate and now I see fighting in Tripoli and the apparent collapse of the Gaddafi regime. What happened militarily to break the stalemate?
posted by Fiery Jack to Law & Government (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hard to know so close to the moment, but seems like it was a combination of experience, training and arms from NATO countries, and perhaps more co-ordinated efforts between the rebels and NATO in terms of where to bomb.

We'll not know for a while yet, I imagine.

The cynic in me is also curious about the death of Abdul Fatah Younis (i.e. wondering if he was a double agent), but that's just silly speculation at this point.
posted by knapah at 4:02 PM on August 23, 2011

The SAS and BFST.
posted by the cuban at 4:18 PM on August 23, 2011

I'd be careful to call it a collapse. A lot of moving pieces right now, and not all of the things coming out of Libya make sense. The rebels might have a strong presence in Tripoli, but things can shift quickly in an environment like that.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:20 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

The rebel forces got much more help and equipment , including contract workers, than the papers reported form a number of countries, including also lots of intel stuff.
posted by Postroad at 4:22 PM on August 23, 2011

In just six months the rebels have gone from being an ill-organized civilian bunch, most ignorant of even the most basic military concepts, to a pretty sophisticated organization with their own government, strong media machinery, lots of heavy weaponry, etc, etc. I would say NATO funding and support has been absolutely crucial in pulling this off. In fact, without NATO, the rebels could have spent years without any major military advancements.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:46 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Dictatorships always look strong from the outside, especially to their many western apologists, but often collapse like a house of cards in the end - communism in eastern Europe, Saddam's Iraq and Gaddafi's Libya are just a few recent examples. Democracies survive because they are accepted by the people, dictatorships survive because the regime is willing and able to kill anyone who opposes it. Once they lose that ability they are done for, which is why brutal regimes such as China and Syria don't hesitate to kill large numbers of people whenever they dare demonstrate against it. For all their propaganda their only legitimacy comes from the point of a gun. NATO support for the rebels was obviously vital in military terms but Gaddafi's regime was had no mass popular support, despite his staged rentamob demonstrations, and once his mercenaries realised they were going to die before they got paid they fled.
posted by joannemullen at 5:26 PM on August 23, 2011

Best answer: All the above, plus the following (links provided as appropriate)

- War runs on money: freezing Gadhafi's foreign accounts and eliminating exports from the oil fields essentially stopped the regime's income. (An amazing Planet Money interview with the new Libyan finance minister who admits on air that the rebels stole $200 million from the central bank during the opening of the war).
- as Foci mentions, the fact that the rebels had a fully funded and operational shadow government gave them credence and pull with NATO.
- a high number of expatriates and even foreign-born Libyans returning to fight (one example: an ex-Belfast counter-sniper working in Libya). Gadhafi was increasingly dependent on mercenaries. The rebels were gaining arms and support, and Gadhafi was hemorrhaging his.
- the rebels were getting a lot of help from NGOs and even private industries: as one example, a Canadian drone manufacturer is supplying UAVs to the rebels.

It only appears sudden: this is the (hopefully) final crumbling of the sandcastle after a long and bloody incoming tide.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:37 PM on August 23, 2011

« Older Vague music video identification   |   Metallum Extremum / Metal and Latin Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.