More reports have emerged tonight that the Gadhafi regime’s assault on Misrata has more or less ground to a halt because of a mutiny in the ranks, and that the fighting on the ground is now between two different factions of the regime’s forces.
“They are still fighting each other,” insisted a rebel spokesman. The report follows previous reports from earlier this weekend, also from Misrata, that some of the regime’s troops had defected to the rebel side.
Libyan state media denied that any such mutinies took place, and it is impossible to conclusively verify events on the ground there. At the same time, such reports are entirely plausible, as virtually the entire rebel military leadership were also defectors from the Libyan military, mostly from East Libya, and enraged by the anti-protest crackdowns.
Since the mass defections, the Gadhafi regime’s fighting force has been made up of two factions: what was left of the military that hadn’t defected, and an influx of mostly Tuareg mercenaries from West Africa. Exactly how much of the pre-revolt Libyan military remains under regime control is a matter of considerable debate, but even as the momentum seems to be with the regime, mutinies remain entirely possible.