CNN is reporting that Libyan rebels have entered Tripoli and that the small arms fire is intense throughout the city. There are reports that “sleeper cells” of rebels came alive as the rebel front reached the city outskirts, that one of Ghadhafi’s son has been arrested, and that Moammar Ghadhafi himself has fled to Algeria.
Whether the tide has moved as far as suggested remains to be seen. And will the next government be any better?
No report on whether NATO bombings continue anywhere in Libya.
CNN also reports that there are “large movements of troops by both sides outside the city,” so the taking of Tripoli might not be the very end. And Tripoli is not taken yet. But it does look like the regime is crumbling, with reports of defections and fleeing of the country.
More as I get it.
Addendum: More details.
And the map above, which I think will be bigger if you click on it, comes from the BBC coverage.
Listening to the television, they are reporting that the second Ghadhafi son has been arrested.
Second addendum: I’m trying to find videos uploaded by Tripoli residents which aren’t being played on mainstream media. This is the only one I’ve found. Some sort of religious gathering and you can hear occasional gunfire in the background.
Third addendum: I referenced an earlier rumor that Ghadhafi fled to Algeria. CNN aired an unconfirmed report that he was captured trying to slip into Tunisia.
Fourth addendum: CNN says there is no statement from any rebel forces of Ghadhafi’s capture.
Fifth addendum: AP says that oil prices should fall once Ghadhafi is out.
Sixth addendum: Annoying moment of CNN coverage where a reporter says, “People who have been her for much longer than me are wondering if Ghadhafi has a surprise up his sleeve.”
I think the reporter has seen a few too many James Bond movies where the desperate villain has one last master stroke in the form of some doomsday weapon or something – a blow delivered as he clutches his white Persian cat with his black leather glove.
Seventh addendum: The NYT is reporting that NATO’s involvement in recent days has clearly been well above and beyond the mere protection of innocents.
Eighth addendum: So far the Obama Administration is playing it pretty cautious in terms of the outcome, in the absence of clear information of what is happening. But Republicans seem terrified at the prospect that Obama might get any kind of credit if this plays out for the better, and they’re wigging out again.
Ninth addendum: It seems that Gadhafi was so focused on the threats from the east of Tripoli, he failed to take seriously a threat from the mountains to his west. But according to this article, their numbers snowballed from towns as they approached Tripoli. What may have been a factor which is missing from the article was the clandestine organization of opposition within Tripoli just waiting for the right moment. With the rebels to the east stalled with heavy fighting, it was the western rebels who may have tipped the balance.
Oil prices are already dropping. Kind of hard to argue that oil wasn’t at least a factor in western involvement.
Tenth addendum: You can keep up with events in Libya here. It looks like there is still fighting in Tripoli, with rebels controlling “95 percent” of the city. But the fierce fighting has residents indoors rather than celebrating anything yet. They also report heavy fighting near the Tunisia border. More defections to the rebels. Kadhafi is believed to have remained in the country. The rebel flag is being flown over the embassy in Algeria. Numerous governments are contacting the rebels.
Eleventh addendum: Shadows of the end of the First Gulf War – NATO aircraft intercepted a SCUD missile fired from Sirat City. As it can have no strategic value at this point, it’s probably aimed at morale. It may even be punitive.
In the meantime, here’s a slideshow of images from Reuters of recent events in Libya.
And here’s some pushback on the Republican narrative.
Twelfth addendum: Neither of Gadhafi’s sons is in rebel hands. The one in house arrest escaped, and the eldest either escaped or was never captured to begin with. He showed up at a hotel housing journalists and pledged to crush the rebellion.
Weird. Maybe that Persian cat scenario isn’t so far-fetched.