Juan Cole: 90% of Libya in Rebel Hands

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Juan Cole, who maintains the blog Informed Comment, is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan and author, most recently, of Engaging the Muslim World.]

The LAT reports that the rebellion against Muammar Qaddafi’s 41-year dictatorship in Libya headed toward an end-game on Wednesday, as Misurata, the country’s third-largest city (pop. 600,000), fell to the opposition. Significantly, Misurata is in the west of the country, where support for Qaddafi had been stronger. It is only 100 miles east of the capital, Tripoli.

Most of the country stretching from the outskirts of Tripoli east toward Egypt is now in the hands of popular committees allied with local security forces that have defected from the dictator. Even to Tripoli’s west, the rebellion had spread to some small towns. Qaddafi is increasingly left only with a sullen and sanguinary Tripoli, about 1 million people, where the streets are ghostly and marauding security forces hotrod it through the streets, sometimes firing indiscriminately....

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