Gaddafi forces enter Ajdabiya

posted at 10:30 am on April 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

NATO aerial attacks do not appear to be slowing the eastern thrust of Moammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, as his troops have rebels reeling backwards yet again.  Loyalist forces reached the gates of Ajdabiya today, and that threatens to reduce the rebel forces into a pocket that will be difficult to escape:

Muammar Gaddafi’s artillery heavily bombarded Ajdabiyah and his forces forced their way inside on Sunday in their most determined assault on the strategic eastern town for at least a week.

Rebels cowered in alleyways from sustained artillery, rocket and small-arms fire and appeared to be losing control of the town, which is gateway to their stronghold of Benghazi 150 km (90 miles) up the Mediterranean coast to the north.

Ajdabiyah had been the launch point for insurgents during a week-long fight for the oil port of Brega further west and its fall would be a serious loss.

It doesn’t take a Sir Bernard Law Montgomery to read the map.  Ajdabiya is the key to Benghazi and Tobruk.  As long as rebels held the city and its environs, they could keep Gaddafi from flanking them and pushing them back to the Mediterranean.  If Ajdabiya falls, then Gaddafi’s forces can turn on Benghazi and a string of coastal cities rather easily even without heavy armor — or they could cut off Benghazi, seize Tukrah and Al Bayda, and besiege Benghazi instead, although NATO airstrikes make a static campaign difficult.

Speaking of NATO airstrikes, the rebels have become rather disenchanted with their supposed protectors of the skies.  Ever since the US and France handed off command to NATO, rebels complain, the strikes have been much less effective, as NBC reports this morning:

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How badly is it going? Gaddafi felt sanguine enough to make a public appearance, making sure that the media noted today’s date on the school’s whiteboard. That doesn’t make it look as though the Gaddafis are looking for an exit strategy, even if it does appear that NATO might want one.

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Why does he still have artillery?

Count to 10 on April 10, 2011 at 10:34 AM

“We are starting to doubt NATO’s intentions here.”

Well, I suppose whoever this quote came from ought to be congratulated for understanding ‘what” the NATO intentions are.

I’ve been around the military my whole adult life and I’m lost as to what their objectives are/were.

hawkdriver on April 10, 2011 at 10:36 AM

This incredible goat rope pretty well defines Obama’s presidency.

rplat on April 10, 2011 at 10:38 AM

First rule of overthrowing a dictator? Make sure he isn’t a popular one. How many of these schlubs have been overthrown without so much as a single sidewinder strike from the US? If the people of Libya really wanted Daffy gone they would have done it long ago.

Rocks on April 10, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Obama’s Libyan adventure is unsurprisingly reminiscent of some of the more dubious peacekeeping efforts in which the U.N. and Canada in particular have participated over the years, in which the armed forces are supposed to act as referees rather than soldiers – boy scouts with guns.

The Canadian left has always promoted peacekeeping as proof of Canada’s multilateral moral superiority over the bad old U.S. This is most certainly Obama’s motivation as well.

Drained Brain on April 10, 2011 at 10:39 AM

days, not weeks….

*shaking the head*

cmsinaz on April 10, 2011 at 10:40 AM

It’s simple… they created a no fly zone, for a country that has a minimal air force, but uses soviet artillery tactics, and wonder why it’s not working.

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on April 10, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Why does he still have artillery?

Count to 10 on April 10, 2011 at 10:34 AM

It’s not heavy stuff. What’s left of that is sitting in garages. They are mostly using mortars. The rebels are just pathetic.

Rocks on April 10, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Unlike Saddam just pretending he beat the West simply because he didn’t die in 1991, Kadaffy Duck will have a legitimate claim that he stood down the eeeeeevil Christian Crusaders etc.

Speedwagon82 on April 10, 2011 at 10:42 AM

This is Obama doing the Bill Clinton 1990s strike on Afghanistan. It did little damage and ultimately caused 911.

Obama is setting America up for another man made disaster.

William Amos on April 10, 2011 at 10:42 AM

CNN had a big report on the rebels on their 6 PM broadcast called “Outmanned and Outgunned” I think. I just had it on in the background but at one point, the broadcast caught me full attention because the ‘reporter’ spent well over 20 seconds talking about how good the rebels looked in their nice uniforms.

The words ‘very stylish’ were used. So the rebels have that going for them.

Canadian Infidel on April 10, 2011 at 10:44 AM

FUBAR.

Mason on April 10, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Speaking of Canadians, Mark Steyn writes:

As I wrote a week ago:

The Tunisians got rid of Ben Ali in nothing flat, Mubarak took a couple of weeks longer to hit the road, and an exciting new ‘Islamic Emirate’ has just been proclaimed in South Yemen. But, with his usual unerring instinct, Barack Obama has chosen to back the one Arab liberation movement who can’t get rid of the local strongman even when you lend them every functioning NATO air force.

That’s a bit unfair on the poor old rebels. But, if you wanted to devise a forlorn emblem of the impotence of the hyperpower, this non-war for non-victory is hard to beat.

Drained Brain on April 10, 2011 at 10:46 AM

“Days, not Weeks”…”No boots on the ground.”

The first promise is already expired….how long before the second promise goes the way of the first? Obama can’t afford to “lose” so he will do whatever it takes to avoid the perception of “losing”. Whether that is a declaration of “victory” after gadaffi consolidates all of his power or sending in troops at the last minute on a pretense of protecting civilians remains to be seen.

/my armchair analysis.

Mord on April 10, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Unlike Saddam just pretending he beat the West simply because he didn’t die in 1991, Kadaffy Duck will have a legitimate claim that he stood down the eeeeeevil Christian Crusaders etc.

This is no BFD. Qaddafi withstood a sort of attack promoted by 3 harpies, and the UN, and at a time when the insufferably incompetent BHO, who is not even a Christian, let alone a Crusader, was C-I-C.

These rebels expect too much from a handed-off KMA.

Basilsbest on April 10, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Mission Accomplished, anyone?

Bueller?

karl9000 on April 10, 2011 at 11:03 AM

I guess the noose came loose.

Really Right on April 10, 2011 at 11:05 AM

NATO should have been disbanded after the Cold War. It’s purpose is obsolete and without the U.S. it’s totally impotent as a military entity. IMO we should have never got into this Libyan mess in the first place, but once in, kick the living crap out of K’daffy and remove him and his kids. Then LEAVE! This kind of “footsy war” only encourages more such behavior. If, for example, we had utterly destroyed Saddam’s regime and moved on to say, Syria and did the same to Assad then Libya and then COME HOME, Iran and others would be a lot easier to “negotiate” with and Hamas and others wouldn’t be so bold!

cartooner on April 10, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Heads in the sand––not boots on the ground!

cartooner on April 10, 2011 at 11:10 AM

..from turd sandwich to an entire buffet of road pies.

The War Planner on April 10, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Maybe NATO should bomb both sides again. Just to even things up a little.

The Canadian left has always promoted peacekeeping as proof of Canada’s multilateral moral superiority over the bad old U.S. This is most certainly Obama’s motivation as well.

Drained Brain on April 10, 2011 at 10:39 AM

The CBC always played this asinine commercial about Peacekeeping between (I believe) the two sides in Cyprus. Like all it took was a nice reasonable Canadian to stop the Greeks and Turks to stop fighting. It was the dumbest version of propaganda I’ve ever seen. The only reason why the Greeks and Turks aren’t in full scale straight up war right now is because they don’t have the excuse to do so. But they both would be in the blink of an eye.
Perhaps they should send a nice, reasonable Canadian to peacekeep between the rebels and Daffy. I’m totes sure it would work….

mjk on April 10, 2011 at 11:13 AM

CNN had a big report on the rebels on their 6 PM broadcast called “Outmanned and Outgunned” I think. I just had it on in the background but at one point, the broadcast caught me full attention because the ‘reporter’ spent well over 20 seconds talking about how good the rebels looked in their nice uniforms.

The words ‘very stylish’ were used. So the rebels have that going for them.

Canadian Infidel on April 10, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Wonder how long it’ll take Brooks to comment on the sharp creases in their pants?

TXUS on April 10, 2011 at 11:16 AM

It is reported that the French have just carpet bombed the rebel-held area the number 1 French weapon: white surrender flags.
:-)

albill on April 10, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Paging Samantha Power….Paging Samantha Power..

Rocks on April 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM

The Obama Libyan campaign follows the same pattern as all other Obama efforts:
1. Problem identified.
2. Obama notified.
3. Action taken by others.
4. Obama disappears from scene, voting “present”.
5. Situation resolved – usually half-baked and bad.
6. Obama reappears, claims victory.
7. Press fawns over the genius and awesomeness of Obama.

albill on April 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM

“Remain calm! All is well!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDAmPIq29ro

Logboy on April 10, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Obama is setting America up for another man made disaster.

William Amos on April 10, 2011 at 10:42 AM

I prefer

Anthropogenic Foreign Arranged Reading of Complaints Explosively

clement on April 10, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Looks like Barry may not get his triumphal procession after all. Probably because of Bush.

Cicero43 on April 10, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Have trouble making myself even read about this stupid war. It’s like being forced to go to a movie you know sucks, having to pay for it.

jodetoad on April 10, 2011 at 11:30 AM

I can’t decide who is more inept. The rebels or Obummer? I’m leaning toward the rebels because Obummer can play golf and basketball.

*He seems to be caught in a sand trap…*

trigon on April 10, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Gaddafi must go!

a capella on April 10, 2011 at 11:42 AM

The mission of NATO is to party hardy on the US taxpayer. The world is safer when they are buzzed up or hung over, and not actually fighting.

gbear on April 10, 2011 at 11:45 AM

It didn’t even take the death of an American to get us to turn away — it just took the loss of a single aircraft.

This is just the penultimate conclusion of a trajectory started in Vietnam.

unclesmrgol on April 10, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Can Scooter shrug and say, “Hey, it’s now on NATO’s shoulders, I’m off the hook,” and have anyone believe him? I can’t wait till he floats that trial balloon.

a capella on April 10, 2011 at 11:52 AM

“Libya is a turd sandwich” — Obama

Note to world, Obama is the turd.

Schadenfreude on April 10, 2011 at 11:53 AM

The Powell doctrine still stands as the most astute strategy that the US must commit to if it is ever to get involved in these wars.

It would keep us out of 99.9% of them.

rickyricardo on April 10, 2011 at 11:57 AM

the ‘reporter’ spent well over 20 seconds talking about how good the rebels looked in their nice uniforms.

The words ‘very stylish’ were used. So the rebels have that going for them.

Canadian Infidel on April 10, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Was it the crease in their pants?
Is that why Bambi decided to throw in his lot with them?
Is David Brooks now a war correspondent?

PackerBronco on April 10, 2011 at 12:05 PM

albill on April 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM

8. Grownups inherit the mess.

PackerBronco on April 10, 2011 at 12:06 PM

More Jimmie Carter mime by Barry in the realm of foreign policy.

bayview on April 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Daffy is someone who should die a thousand horrible deaths

that being said

watching bama flail and choke on this cretin has earned the thought of credit

SMARTYPOWER

Sonosam on April 10, 2011 at 12:50 PM

watching bama flail and choke on this cretin has earned the thought of credit
Sonosam on April 10, 2011 at 12:50 PM

What happens when the loyalists take some or all three of those cities, while avoiding NATO air strikes and start slaughtering or detaining anyone suspected of having opposition tendencies? If the U.N. resolution is to be followed on humanitarian aid, NATO boots on the ground will be required. Question: Where would those boots be sourced? Scooter’s hand is gradually being forced.

a capella on April 10, 2011 at 1:06 PM

So, when he’s up against Duh One and NATO, Qadaffi is The Desert Fox.

reaganaut on April 10, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Yes

daffy has done to America and NATO allies what was once thought impossible

bongo has basically said along with NATO that we will be sanitary from thirty thou

in other words they telegraphed their punches like idiots and daffy didn’t miss a beat

choke on it bongo, but keep the ground soldiers out

admit defeat before you get someone killed

Sonosam on April 10, 2011 at 1:52 PM

What did everyone expect from these so-called rebels who seemed more interested in getting baked on hashish and munching down on falafels than actually doing any real fighting. Great way to fight a war – Leave everyone else to do your dirty work while you just sit back and watch while getting your buzz on.

JFS61 on April 10, 2011 at 2:15 PM

The guy is a murdering, terrorist scumbag, but I have to hand it to the SOB-he’s managed to hang on and defy ours and NATO’s hi-tech, expensive surgical strike capabilities, and the worst we could throw at him short of nukes and carpet bombing.

There again so did Adid in Somalia when Clintoon was in the WH, so it’s more about Liberal incompetence than it is his prowess as a great military leader. In Yugoslavia I would credit the mercenary-trained staff of the Croatian Army that kicked Serbia’s a$$ more than NATO. In neither case not because ours and the NATO militaries are incompetent, but rather the restraints imposed upon them by incompetent political leaders.

But-in a war results are results-being evil doesn’t matter-winning or losing does.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 10, 2011 at 2:25 PM

The world knows that modern democrats can’t win wars.

Johnson?
Carter?
Clinton?
Obama?

Name a war/skirmish/action/kinetic/campaign any of them have won.

Mojave Mark on April 10, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Well, “Daffy” is still in possession of the Lady Be Good.

oldleprechaun on April 10, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Waiting for Harry Reid to weigh in: “This kinetic no-fly zone is lost.”

curved space on April 10, 2011 at 3:25 PM

I read somewhere, can’t remember exactly where, that there are only a thousand to fifteen hundred rebels…

equanimous on April 10, 2011 at 3:44 PM

They need a NO KHADAFFY zone.

He’s the problem, not his airforce.

Or a NO MOVE zone.

And anything that moves gets hit.

profitsbeard on April 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

cartooner on April 10, 2011 at 11:05 AM

NATO is not the problem. ObaMao is.

Slowburn on April 10, 2011 at 6:47 PM

This is no BFD. Qaddafi withstood a sort of attack promoted by 3 harpies, and the UN, and at a time when the insufferably incompetent BHO, who is not even a Christian, let alone a Crusader, was C-I-C.

The problem, of course, is that it is not reality which counts in the Middle East, but perception. Osama’s “strong horse,” Baghdad Bob, – these are the standards, not exceptions, for that benighted realm.

Of course Saddam didn’t “win” or “survive” anything in ’91 – his life hung in the balance of Western conservative sense vs. its liberal sensitivity, and the executioner’s axe passed him by. But such was a great victory for him in that land of knaves.

The same with Osama’s supposed survival, and the Iraqi and Palestinian terrorists ability to shedding blood. In a land of ignorance, the ability to lie credibly is much more powerful than the ability to kill.

That’s why Saddam didn’t take Bush’s war posture seriously — he assumed he and W were lying to each other like Arabs.

HitNRun on April 10, 2011 at 7:05 PM

To quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park

“I just hate being right all the time….”

MaiDee on April 10, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Sidebar

the other day a daffy fighter defied the no-fly zone and scored hits on rebel forces

hysterical

i

Sonosam on April 10, 2011 at 9:37 PM