Gaddafi’s last stand


As Libyan rebels tried desperately to hold off Colonel Muammer Gaddafi’s forces in March last year in the town of Zawiya, 50km west of Tripoli, one opposition supporter had a simple question for the Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford: “How can we do this on our own?” Within two weeks, his rhetorical plea – quoted in Crawford’s book, Colonel Gaddafi’s Hat – was moot. Following a UN Security Council resolution authorising “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians, Nato warplanes had begun a bombardment of Gaddafi’s forces that over the next six months would chip away at the regime until a path was clear for the rebels to take Tripoli. I and other journalists saw the extraordinary bravery of many Libyans opposed to the colonel, from the long-persecuted Amazigh, or Berber, people battling out from their western mountain redoubt, to the Tripoli dissidents who tried to protest even as pick-ups packed with soldiers roamed the streets. But in the end they did need outside help in unseating an adversary who proved much more resilient than the leaders toppled in a matter of weeks in Libya’s neighbours Tunisia and Egypt.

more from Michael Peel at the FT here.