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REBELS SEIZE TRIPOLI

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 22nd, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadafi's rule of Libya may finally be over. After six months of armed conflict and with support for NATO forces, rebel leaders have claimed large sections of the city of Tripoli and celebrations have erupted across the country. However, Gadhafi is still yet to be found and apprehended. In Tripoli, fighting continues in several contested spots.

TRIPOLI, LIBYA (Catholic Online) - Earlier reports have also claimed the capture of two of Moamar Gadhafi's sons. 

Just a few days ago, rebels reported that they were making progress on their plan to isolate the city. The isolation was an expected prelude to the main assault on Tripoli, but the assault proceeded much more quickly than anyone anticipated. Even the rebels appeared surprised at how quickly the city has been captured. 

Libyan government officials have not signaled defeat. While conceding that the rebels had taken key portions of the capital, they insisted that the contest was far from over and that Gadhafi was still very much in control. That measure of control is up for dispute, but the fighting is not. Gunfire is still being reported as clashes continue between the rebels and loyalists. 

Despite Gadhafi's defiance and the pockets of resistance, the rebel government has taken immediate steps to rule the country. Guma El-Gamtay, a coordinator for the rebels in Britain, issued a statement saying, "It will take 18 to 20 months to create a political framework for a new Libyan government," indicating that a plan was in the works for turning Libya into a democracy from a dictatorship, welcome news for the United States and the NATO allies.

Rebel forces have been helped in large part by precision NATO airstrikes, many flown by US pilots. Those airstrikes have been decisive, destroying government armor and military installations and preventing Gadhafi's forces from flying aircraft to bomb the rebels. Without this support, the rebels would not have been successful in the conflict.

Obama's remarks on the situation were very optimistic. On Sunday he said, "Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moamar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Whether or not that realization is forthcoming, is the question the world is waiting to find the answer to.


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