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.