“A NATO airstrike killed 13 rebel fighters in the battle outside the pivotal oil port of Brega, the rebels said Saturday…
“One rebel fighter who was wounded in the airstrike said a fellow rebel had fired into the air moments before the attack.
“‘I don’t know why,’ the rebel, Ali Abdullah Abubaker, said later from a hospital in Benghazi. ‘Maybe he was scared.’…
“’NATO takes reports of civilian casualties very seriously,’ [a] spokesman said. ‘But for us, exact details are hard to verify because we do not have reliable sources on the ground.’
“The spokesman, who, according to NATO policy, asked not to be identified, added, ‘If someone fires at one of our aircraft, they have the right to defend themselves.'”
“U.S. officials are becoming increasingly resigned to the possibility of a protracted stalemate in Libya, with rebels retaining control of the eastern half of the divided country but lacking the muscle to drive Moammar Gaddafi from power…
“U.S. analysts have concluded that Gaddafi will likely not step aside voluntarily, despite recent defections by top aides. Nor is he likely to be driven anytime soon from his Tripoli base, where he has surrounded himself with highly paid fighters and tribal kinsmen who remain fiercely loyal, the officials said.
“A stalemate could mean an open-ended mission for the coalition of NATO and Arab countries now enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, increasing both the financial and political costs for the participants. But analysts are increasingly confident that Gaddafi can be largely contained within a divided Libya, unable to significantly threaten his neighbors and gradually weakening over time…
“While it is possible that Gaddafi could be assassinated or overthrown, he maintains an elaborate, multilayered personal security system that has protected him for decades. ‘By all accounts he is very paranoid, and he will fend for his own survival,’ the official said.”
“Only a handful of the Libyan opposition’s military leaders have been publicly identified by name and it is still unclear whether they are working together or in competition with each other, according to current and former intelligence officials.
“Military leaders include a longtime opponent of Moammar Gaddafi who spent two decades in Northern Virginia and a former general who once helped bring the Libyan leader to power…
“[G]iven the uncertainty within the Libyan opposition camp and the disparate nature of military forces, it is difficult to sort out any leadership structure. Younis and Haftar, for instance, have been on opposite sides for at least 20 years, leaving it uncertain whether they have been able to align their interests.”
“Two former Afghan Mujahedeen and a six-year detainee at Guantanamo Bay have stepped to the fore of this city’s military campaign, training new recruits for the front and to protect the city from infiltrators loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
“The presence of Islamists like these amid the opposition has raised concerns, among some fellow rebels as well as their Western allies, that the goal of some Libyan fighters in battling Col. Gadhafi is to propagate Islamist extremism…
“‘Our view is starting to change of the U.S.,’ said Mr. Hasady. ‘If we hated the Americans 100%, today it is less than 50%. They have started to redeem themselves for their past mistakes by helping us to preserve the blood of our children.’
“Mr. Hasady also offered a reconsideration of his past approach. ‘No Islamist revolution has ever succeeded. Only when the whole population was included did we succeed, and that means a more inclusive ideology.'”
“In the old days, simpletons like President Bush used to say, ‘You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.’ This time round, we’re with us and we’re with the terrorists, and you can’t say fairer than that…
“So this isn’t your father’s war. It’s a war with a U.N. resolution and French jets and a Canadian general and the good wishes of the Arab League. It’s a war with everything it needs, except a mission. And, if you don’t have a mission, it’s hard to know when it’s accomplished. Secretary Gates insists that regime change is not a goal; President Sarkozy says it is; President Obama’s position, insofar as one can pin it down, seems to be that he’s not in favor of Qaddafi remaining in power but he isn’t necessarily going to do anything to remove him therefrom. According to NBC, Qaddafi was said to be down in the dumps about his prospects until he saw Obama’s speech, after which he concluded the guy wasn’t serious about getting rid of him, and he perked up. He’s certainly not planning on going anywhere. There is an old rule of war that one should always offer an enemy an escape route. Instead, David Cameron, the British prime minister, demanded that Qaddafi be put on trial. So the Colonel is unlikely to trust any offers of exile, and has nothing to lose by staying to the bitter end and killing as many people as possible.”
Via Gateway Pundit.