Posts tagged rebels
Fierce clashes intensified in Syria’s commercial capital of Aleppo on Tuesday as the government unleashed air attacks on rebellious neighborhoods, while activists claimed opposition fighters had control over several neighborhoods in the city.
Government helicopter gunships attacked Aleppo, the Local Coordination Committees, a network of on-the-ground activists, told NBC News. The Associated Press reported that warplanes circled in the air around the city, while the British Broadcasting Corp., citing one of its reporters near the area, said that fighter jets had bombed eastern parts of Aleppo.
With sequential rebel attacks on the country’s two largest cities and a bombing that wiped out some of his top security advisors, President Bashar Assad reshuffled his top security posts, dismissing one general and appointing a national security council chief to replace the one killed in the recent attack.
Syria’s rebels, outmanned and outgunned by the regime’s professional army, have mounted a surprising pair of offensives over the last 10 days against the country’s two major cities — Damascus and Aleppo. Even as the government appears to have snuffed out most of the rebel pockets in the capital, the rebels appear to be fight fiercely in the commercial hub of Aleppo in the north.
The government has instituted tight restrictions on outside news outlets working in Syria, making it difficult to verify many reports from inside the country.
Israel, which has publicly discussed military action to prevent Syrian chemical weapons or missiles from reaching Assad’s Lebanese Shiite militant allies Hezbollah, said there was no sign any such diversion had occurred.
“At the moment, the entire non-conventional weapons system is under the full control of the regime,” a senior Israeli defense official, Amos Gilad, told Israel Radio.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the army would not use chemical weapons to crush rebels but could use them against forces from outside the country.
The Global Security website, which collects published intelligence reports and other data, says there are four suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria: north of Damascus, near Homs, in Hama and near the Mediterranean port of Latakia. Weapons it produces include the nerve agents VX, sarin and tabun, it said, without citing its sources. source – NBC News
U.S. steps up surveillance of suspects among rebels
Jihadists among the Libyan rebels revealed plans last week on the Internet to subvert the post-Moammar Gadhafi government and create an Islamist state, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.
U.S. officials said spy agencies are stepping up surveillance of Islamist-oriented elements among Libyan rebels. A government report circulated Tuesday said extremists were observed “strategizing” on Internet forums about how to set up an Islamist state in Libya after the regime of Col. Gadhafi is defeated.
“Several forum participants have suggested that, following a transitional stage, the battle should turn against secularist rebels and members of the [rebels’] Transitional National Council,” the unclassified report stated.
Some U.S. officials sought to play down the remarks by noting that such Internet postings are not always accurate measures of jihadist plans.
The report said the jihadists’ strength and influence on the ground “are uncertain at this time.”
However, the report said the jihadist plotting coincided with the high-profile emergence of Abu Abdallah al-Sadiq, a former leader of the al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and now a leading rebel. He is currently known as Abdel Hakim al-Khulidi Belhaj and led rebels in overrunning Col. Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound.
A U.S. official familiar with intelligence reports on the region said there are concerns that some LIFG members remain committed to al Qaeda and others may be temporarily renouncing their ties to the terrorist group for “show.”
“Some members of LIFG in the past had connections with al Qaeda in Sudan, Afghanistan or Pakistan, and others dropped their relationship with al Qaeda entirely,” the official said.
“It seems – from their statements and support for establishing a democracy in Libya – that this faction of LIFG does not support al Qaeda. We’ll definitely be watching to see whether this is for real or just for show.”
A defense official familiar with jihadist strategy said Islamists likely will emerge in power from the turmoil expected after the demise of the Gadhafi regime and the West will be partly to blame.
“We’re helping pave the way for them” through NATO airstrikes and other support, he said.
About 1,000 jihadists are operating covertly in Libya, Noman Benotman, a former Libyan al Qaeda member, told The Washington Times in March.
According to a translation of the forum exchanges, Libyan Islamists view the fall of Tripoli to rebels as the initial phase of a battle to take over the country.
Jihadists were urged to prepare for the next stage in the battle: taking on secular rebels and the interim National Transitional Council, sometimes called the Transitional National Council, the secular political organization that is mainly pro-democratic. The jihadists want to set up an Islamist state ruled by Shariah law. source – Washington Times
Libya Falls To Rebel Forces
Rebel leaders have taken control of Tripoli and arrested Colonel Gaddafi’s sons Saif al-Islam and Mohammad. On a night of extraordinary developments in the Libyan capital, the rebels advanced through the city capturing the central Green Square as the regime crumbled.
In a symbolic move the rebels immediately began calling it Martyr’s Square, rejecting the colour so associated with Gaddafi’s despised regime. Thousands took to the streets to celebrate the rebels’ success, firing guns into the air, chanting loudly and destroying symbols of Gaddafi.
Many Tripoli residents received a text message from the rebel leadership saying: ‘God is Great. We congratulate the Libyan people on the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.’ During their advance the rebels also confirmed that they had captured Gaddafi’s son Saif, and Gaddafi’s eldest son Mohammad said that he had been detained by rebels and was being kept under house arrest in Tripoli.
‘Gunmen surrounded my house and I am still at home and they are outside,’ he said by telephone from Tripoli.
‘They said they will guarantee my safety. They are besieging my house,’ he added.
Sidiq al-Kibir, the rebel leadership council’s representative for the capital Tripoli, confirmed the arrest, before leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, gave further details.
He said: ‘He is being kept in a secure place under close guard until he is handed over to the judiciary.’ The dictator’s personal security team were also reported to have been disarmed and surrendered. The leaders of the rebels had previously announced that they would allow Gaddafi to leave safely if he announced his departure.
In a move that was designed to avoid a bloodbath, rebel chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said the Libyan leader and his sons would be given a safe passage out of the country. The dictator’s personal security team were also reported to have been disarmed and surrendered. Mahmoud Shammam, the rebel minister of information, said that the unit commander ‘has joined the revolution and ordered his soldiers to drop their weapons.’
Gaddafi’s supporters insisted that thousands of fighters were ready to defend him to the death and warned that blood would run in the streets amid reports of heavy gunfire elsewhere in the city. During their advance on the city rebel forces were being pounded by rockets, anti-aircraft shells and mortars, and there were fears that with Nato unable to support them from the air at such close quarters there could be military and civilian deaths on a massive scale.
One official said: ‘What Nato can do is very limited if there is street-by-street fighting.’ Gaddafi had also placed snipers on tall buildings with orders to shoot ‘anything that moves’. At least 375 people were reported killed on both sides and more than 1,000 wounded. source – Daily Mail UK
‘Tis the season to commit treason
Last week we reported to you that Obama was one, small step from committing treason by arming the Libyan rebels who, in reality, are comprised of lots and lots of Al Qaeda terrorists. This would be a direct violation of Article III, Section III of the US Constitution, which says that it is treason to give “aid and comfort” to the enemy. Now that “one, small step” he was contemplating taking, he just took. $25 million certainly will provide Al Qaeda with lots of aid, which they will find highly comforting. When Obama was running for President, he sold himself as a “Constitutional law professor”, so he certainly cannot claim ignorance of this amazingly flagrant violation of our Constitution.
Libya rebels will receive $25M from U.S.
“Dismissing concerns over possible links between Libyan rebels and al Qaeda, the Obama administration has notified Congress it is providing $25 million in nonlethal aid to the rebels’ effort to drive Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime from power.
“The president’s proposed actions would provide urgently needed nonlethal assistance to support efforts to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack in Libya,” said Joseph E. Macmanus, acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, in an April 15 letter. A copy of the letter, sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was obtained by The Washington Times. The new authorization for assistance would cover “vehicles, fuel trucks and fuel bladders, ambulances, medical equipment, protective vests, binoculars, and non-secure radios,” according to a memorandum attached to the letter.
The letter was disclosed as Britain announced it would be sending military trainers and advisers to Libya to help organize opposition troops. The European Union also said it would send an armed force to Libya to protect deliveries of humanitarian aid. President Obama has said that Col. Gadhafi must step down from power, but he also stated that the United States does not support a policy of regime change in Libya.” source – Washington Times
NATO strikes not stopping Gadhafi
It’s not making NATO and the US look good when their combined air strikes are failing to stop Gadhafi from advancing on the rebels. And it will make them look even worse if he is successful at retaining power in Libya.
AJDABIYA, Libya — Government soldiers and rebel gunmen battled in the streets of a key front-line city Saturday after the Libyan military used shelling and guerrilla-style tactics to open its most serious push into opposition territory since international airstrikes began. NATO airstrikes, meanwhile, hammered at Gadhafi’s ammunition stockpiles and armored forces, destroying 17 tanks. At least eight people were killed in the fighting over Ajdabiya, a hospital official said.
Recapturing the city would give the Libyan military a staging ground to attack the rebels’ main stronghold, Benghazi, about 100 miles farther east along the coastal highway. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces were approaching Benghazi when they were driven back by the international air campaign launched last month to protect civilians and ground Gadhafi’s aircraft.
For the rebels, losing the city would effectively bottle them into a coastal strip of eastern Libya and allow government forces to more tightly squeeze the few opposition pockets in the rest of the country, including the besieged western port of Misrata, where heavy clashes continued Saturday for a second day. NATO air strikes hit armored vehicles firing on civilians near both Misrata and Ajdabiya, said Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, who commands the Libya operation. source – MSNBC
Hmmm, wasn’t this supposed to only last a “few days”?
They say that the first casualty of war is the truth. We are still waiting for Obama to speak anything remotely resembling the truth. He said this would be be an operation lasting “only a few days”, but here we are over a week later having spent almost 1 BILLION DOLLARS, and having committed the 22nd Marines, and the Air Force. Welcome to War #3…
“The Obama administration has sent teams of CIA operatives into Libya in a rush to gather intelligence on the identities and capabilities of rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, according to U.S. officials.
The information has become more crucial as the administration and its coalition partners move closer to providing direct military aid or guidance to the disorganized and beleaguered rebel army.
Although the administration has pledged that no U.S. ground troops will be deployed to Libya, officials said Wednesday that President Obama has issued a secret finding that would authorize the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and other support to Libyan opposition groups.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, insisted that no decision has been made.” source – Washington Post
Houston, we have a problem
With so much uncertainty in Libya, one thing is for sure – both Hamas and Hezbollah are much better armed with weapons to attack Israel and the United States. Looks like the Libyan rebels have just sold them piles of chemical weapons, as well as anti-air missiles.
“Senior Libyan rebel “officers” sold Hizballah and Hamas thousands of chemical shells from the stocks of mustard and nerve gas that fell into rebel hands when they overran Muammar Qaddafi’s military facilities in and around Benghazi, debkafile’s exclusive military and intelligence sources report. Word of the capture touched off a scramble in Tehran and among the terrorist groups it sponsors to get hold of their first unconventional weapons.
According to our sources, the rebels offloaded at least 2,000 artillery shells carrying mustard gas and 1,200 nerve gas shells for cash payment amounting to several million dollars.
US and Israeli intelligence agencies have tracked the WMD consignments from eastern Libya as far as Sudan in convoys secured by Iranian agents and Hizballah and Hamas guards. They are not believed to have reached their destinations in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, apparently waiting for an opportunity to get their deadly freights through without the US or Israel attacking and destroying them. It is also not clear whether the shells and gases were assembled upon delivery or were travelling in separate containers. Our sources report that some of the poison gas may be intended not only for artillery use but also for drones which Hizballah recently acquired from Iran.
Tehran threw its support behind the anti-Qaddafi rebels because of this unique opportunity to get hold of the Libyan ruler’s stock of poison gas after it fell into opposition hands and arm Hizballah and Hamas with unconventional weapons without Iran being implicated in the transaction. Shortly after the uprising began in the third week of February, a secret Iranian delegation arrived in Benghazi. Its members met rebel chiefs, some of them deserters from the Libyan army, and clinched the deal for purchasing the entire stock of poison gas stock and the price.
The rebels threw in a quantity of various types of anti-air missiles. Hizballah and Hamas purchasing missions arrived in the first week of March to finalize the deal and arrange the means of delivery.
The first authoritative American source to refer to a Hizballah presence in Benghazi was the commander of US NATO forces Adm. James Stavridis. When he addressed a US Senate committee on Tuesday, March 29, he spoke of “telltale signs of the presence of Islamic insurgents led by Al-Qaeda and Hizballah” on the rebel side of the Libyan war. He did not disclose what they were doing there.” source – DEBKAfile