Libyan rebels closing in on Qaddafi’s compound? Update: BBC says rebels have taken control

posted at 12:05 pm on August 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Take this with the customary grain of salt that accompanies most breaking reports from urban-warfare theaters, and perhaps especially in Tripoli, where Moammar Qaddafi’s sons are either in custody or acting as tour guides for the capital of Libya.  Rebels now report having reached Qaddafi’s compound, which means that either the regime will fall shortly, or … not:

 Libyan rebels battled on Tuesday around Muammar Gaddafi’s headquarters, where a son of the veteran leader had emerged overnight to confound reports of his capture and to rally cheering loyalists for a rearguard fightback.

NATO jets flew in support of the rebels, who said they were trying to break into Gaddafi’s fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound. His son and presumed heir Saif al-Islam had earlier told a crowd that his father was well and still in Tripoli.

Heavy smoke drifted across the city center and a Reuters correspondent at a government-controlled hotel near the sprawling compound heard heavy gunfire and explosions. NATO declined comment on whether it had struck Bab al-Aziziya.

“The revolutionaries are trying to get in through the Old Gate on the western side,” rebel fighter Muftah Ahmad Othman told Al-Arabiya television from Tripoli. “If they’re successful, the fighting will move inside the compound.”

It’s really just a matter of time before the compound falls, unless Qaddafi can find a way to get a relief column into Tripoli to break the siege.  Al-Jazeera says the rebels have complete control of the perimeter now, and while regime forces are still fighting, they’re not making any significant gains.  NATO warplanes are attacking the compound at Bab al-Azizya, and will likely continue until they can no longer do so without endangering rebel forces when they finally break into the compound.  Reuters reports that some have already broken through, although there doesn’t seem to be any independent confirmation.

So what about the chemical weapons Qaddafi has stored for desperate last stands?  The US says they are keeping a close eye on storage sites, but since we don’t have troops on the ground, we’re not in position to do much about it if any forces decide to use them.  It’s hard to imagine Qaddafi deploying them for close combat, but he’s not exactly known for his rationality, either.

Here’s a question: What if the rebels finally seize Bab al-Azizya and Qaddafi’s not there?  The US still thinks Qaddafi’s in Tripoli, and the presence (and sudden freedom) of his sons would suggest we’re correct.  But if the dictator has moved his flag outside of Tripoli, he won’t last long regardless — and might be thinking about taking his leave of Libya permanently.

Update: The BBC says that rebels have taken control of the compound:

Libyan rebels have taken over Col Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, one of the final areas under the Libyan leader’s control. …

Footage from Sky News showed gangs of rebels gathered about 50m (164ft) from the compound dressed in civilian clothes, some armed with rifles, others unarmed. The sound of shells exploding could be heard nearby.

Later reports said hundreds fighters had breached one of the gates of the compound, and that gangs were inside the compound firing guns into the air to celebrate.

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Libyan rebels closing in on Qaddafi’s compound?

And, in other news, Generalíssimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

whatcat on August 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Most urban warfare theaters? How about “anything stemming from the supposed rebels in the fight for Libya?”

This is becoming nothing but a propaganda war -for what, no one even knows.

BKeyser on August 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM

I don’t get it. I thought he was already dead, or in Tunisia, or something. All this breathless reporting is based on info that seems pretty hinky to me.

Missy on August 23, 2011 at 12:10 PM

An Al Jazeera reporter inside Gadhafi’s Bab Al Aziza reported there is no resistance anymore inside the compound.

Terp Mole on August 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

“Here’s a question: What if the rebels finally seize Bab al-Azizya and Qaddafi’s not there?”

Can that happen without Jerry Rivers being there? Say it ain’t so.

Dusty on August 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Enquiring minds want to know:

Have we figured out who these rebels are yet?

Are they really a collection of budding Arabian Madisons and Jeffersons?

Have we averted the humanitarian catastrophe that for some reason was our duty to prevent?

Is war for oil OK now?

Does this mean that all female bodyguard cadres are out of style?

MJBrutus on August 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

BBC is reporting that the rebel flag has been raised over the Gaddafi’s compound

ConservativePartyNow on August 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

I thought he was already dead, or in Tunisia, or something

Yes. He’s got big plans for his victory tour to St. Bart’s with Beyonce, Maria Carrie and Lionel Richie… right after he gets his A/C working again.

Terp Mole on August 23, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Bab al-Azizya/Al-Arabiya 2012…!

/

Seven Percent Solution on August 23, 2011 at 12:14 PM

I’m taking this story with a 10 carat grain of Kosher Salt.

SlaveDog on August 23, 2011 at 12:14 PM

The whole thing is a sorry mess. Yes Qaddafi is the lowest of scum but something smells about this “operation.” Are we now going to go after Syria? How about North Korea? Who decides?

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 12:15 PM

The fighting going on sure sounds like obama’s version of mission accomplished. obama is going down!

ConservativePartyNow on August 23, 2011 at 12:17 PM

He’ll shoot himself and that will be the end of it.

Blake on August 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM

He’ll shoot himself and that will be the end of it.

Blake on August 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM

I don’t know. I kind of thought he would booby trap the place and take at lot of them with him to meet Allah…

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 12:21 PM

I want to know what happened to the Amazonian Guard?

cartooner on August 23, 2011 at 12:23 PM

OT: Hurricane Irene headed to Washington D.C.?

SlaveDog on August 23, 2011 at 12:24 PM

He’ll shoot himself and that will be the end of it.

Blake on August 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM

And then he’ll reappear and do an interview with Shep.

Knucklehead on August 23, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I am very concerned about looting and civilian casualties.

Any word on this?

faraway on August 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Who decides?

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Osama Obama decides, that’s who.

With reports that the “rebels” are planning to incorporate Sharia law into the constitution, the whole sorry mess is beginning to swing into focus. We’ve exchanged a bloodthirsty, evil tyrant for a whole bunch of bloodthirsty, evil tyrants.

Does anyone ask what the reaction would be here if foreign governments decided to topple our current regime? Does anyone ask why Mad Moammar is somehow worse than, say, Robert Mugabe?

I didn’t think so. The media is too busy polishing the lump of solid excreta that is our Traitor-in-Chief.

MrScribbler on August 23, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Amy Winehouse didn’t have any illegal drugs in her system when she died///

Knucklehead on August 23, 2011 at 12:12 PM

But, she had 75 legal drugs in her system.

faraway on August 23, 2011 at 12:27 PM

I am very concerned about looting and civilian casualties.

Any word on this?

faraway on August 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM

If it happens you won’t hear about it. I doesn’t fit the narrative of these “freedom” fighters the press would have you believe.

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM

But if the dictator has moved his flag outside of Tripoli, he won’t last long regardless — and might be thinking about taking his leave of Libya permanently.

My sources tell me he is already in San Francisco, and his taxi driver permit is being expedited by Rep. Pelosi.

BobMbx on August 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Does this mean that all female bodyguard cadres are out of style?

MJBrutus on August 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

The first of many negatives to come from Libya.

BobMbx on August 23, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Why is Obama invading so many Muslim countries?

faraway on August 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Code Pink should be outraged.

faraway on August 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I don’t get it. I thought he was already dead, or in Tunisia, or something. All this breathless reporting is based on info that seems pretty hinky to me.

Missy on August 23, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Steyn was in for Limbaugh yesterday, he said Gadaffi is guest-hosting on Wednesday.

mudskipper on August 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Does anyone “really” know who these “rebels” are?..:)

PS..I am not for Gaddafi..He is scum..But are these Rebels good folks?!?..:)

Dire Straits on August 23, 2011 at 12:42 PM

This is becoming nothing but a propaganda war -for what, no one even knows.

BKeyser on August 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Wag the Dog?

BobMbx on August 23, 2011 at 12:42 PM

The Libyan-Contras’ victory over Kaddafi’s thugocracy is a LONG overdue triumph for the Reagan Doctrine.

It took post-Bush/Blair EU conservatives (Cameron, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Merkel) to successfully revive the Reagan Doctrine by arming and supporting Libyan-Contras.

American conservatives should focus on congratulating our heroic NATO airmen (and our new Libyan allies) for a job well done– and ignore the predictably impotent posturing by Barry’s media toadies.

He counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong.”

God bless Ronald Reagan and our heroic NATO airmen.

Terp Mole on August 23, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Does anyone “really” know who these “rebels” are?..:)

PS..I am not for Gaddafi..He is scum..But are these Rebels good folks?!?..:)

Dire Straits on August 23, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Guess we’re going to find out soon enough…

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 12:43 PM

It’s all an elaborate ruse.

When all the rebels are in one place he’ll either nuke them or hose them down with chemical WMD’s.

Oh, wait, Gadaffey was so scared shitless by Boosh and an ass-whipped Iraq that he gave all them thingies up, didn’t he?

Well, can’t let little details like those spoil the NATO narrative, now can we?

Carry on.

Bruno Strozek on August 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Guess we’re going to find out soon enough…

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Good point.. :)

Dire Straits on August 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

CNN is reporting their reporter Sarah Sidner is inside the Daffy compound…video of rebels taking out ammo and weapons…No Daffy.

d1carter on August 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Later reports said hundreds fighters had breached one of the gates of the compound, and that gangs were inside the compound firing guns into the air to celebrate.

The most dangerous place in the world is next to a celebrating, armed rebel.

a capella on August 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Obama Era

The Caliphate has added Egypt, Turkey, and now Libya.

faraway on August 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Someone on BBC is saying it is special forces from Qatar and other Arab countries that have taken Libya.

pedestrian on August 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Someone on BBC is saying it is special forces from Qatar and other Arab countries that have taken Libya.

pedestrian on August 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Say what?

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Say what?

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Meant to say the Qataris led the quick assault on Tripoli, but they and European forces have been training the rebel leaders throughout the campaign.

pedestrian on August 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Meant to say the Qataris led the quick assault on Tripoli, but they and European forces have been training the rebel leaders throughout the campaign.

pedestrian on August 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Ok, got you…

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Cynthia McKinney hardest hit, if only.

Schadenfreude on August 23, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Happy to see him go, I think, but It’s infuriating to me to hear the breathless media comparing this to the take out of Saddam Hussein. Anything to bolster Obamas “creds”

PS I put I think because I have no idea who is going to take over.

sandee on August 23, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Schadenfreude: Cynthia McKinney hardest hit, if only.

Prediction: Among the Kaddafi compound documents, they will find evidence of actionable connections to the convicted terrorist Alamoudi plot.

McKinney and Farrakhan are up to their eyelids in Kaddafi funny-money.

Terp Mole on August 23, 2011 at 1:40 PM

“Ma ma ma my shariah.”

VibrioCocci on August 23, 2011 at 1:52 PM

The rebels found a sign with a clock on it hanging on the front door saying “Back in 1 hour.”

Christien on August 23, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Forget the compound. It looks to me like a Carter redux. About 30 reporters are being held in the hotel surrounded and guarded by Kaddafi forces.

NBC says they’re ‘human shields’. I call them hostages. Media is barely mentioning them.

MaggiePoo on August 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM

NBC says they’re ‘human shields’. I call them hostages. Media is barely mentioning them.

MaggiePoo on August 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM

They’ve been let go

elfman on September 1, 2011 at 10:52 AM