Bir al-Ghanam may be a relatively non-descript desert town, but it is the Libyan rebels’ sole claim to fame since NATO began attacking the country in March. It is not only the only plot of land they’ve actually gained control of in the past few months, it is also the closest territory they have to Tripoli.
Which has the rebels brimming with confidence and predicting a quick march on the Libyan capital, vowing to move through Zawiya, which much larger rebel forces have previously failed to hold, and on to Tripoli to oust the Gadhafi regime.
The prediction reflects the most common element in this civil war, the repeated predictions by both sides that a military victory is imminent, even as neither side is able to seize any meaningful ground from the other.
The southern offensive which took Bir al-Ghanam was a direct consequence of a French military aid drop in the region, which also saw weapons, according to other officials, falling into the hands of al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb. It seems difficult to imagine, despite rebel confidence, that this offensive will be any more decisive than the dozens of others both sides have launched in the stalemated war.