Gadhafi’s Counter-Offensive Continues, Rebel Towns Fall

Regime Victories Imperil Rebels' Eastern Holdings

The Gadhafi regime’s counteroffensive continued apace today, with a ferocity that few expected they could must in the wake of mass defections and huge popular opposition. The forces recaptured two major cities today, Zawiya in the west and Ra’s Lanuf along the nation’s central coast.

Zawiya was a hugely important possession primarily because it is just 30 miles outside of Tripoli, the regime’s capital, while Ra’s Lanuf is an important oil port, as well as the gateway between the eastern and western halves of the nation.

And while the fall of Zawiya improves the regime’s defensive position, the fall of Ra’s Lanuf (which some rebels appear still to be contesting) threatens attacks deeper into rebel East Libya, and puts the regime within striking distance of Brega, and perhaps soon even the rebel capital of Benghazi.

Despite suffering some discouraging losses over the past couple of days, the rebels remain defiant, insisting they have no choice but to continue fighting and remain determined to see long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi removed from power. It has been their goal all along, it is just taking longer than many thought.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.