Despite the claims of his regime and a phalanx of Gaddafi propagandists around the world trying to state otherwise, some in disbelief, others desperately trying to replace realities on the ground with their thought-forms, a rather daunting task, Colonel Gaddafi is now facing the Battle for Tripoli, although not in the traditional sense of attackers assaulting a castle wall, but more in the sense of an omnipresent upheaval, externally and internally in and around Tripoli. As rebel forces advance on the capital, nicknamed "the Mermaid" in Libyan culture, at the same time the long-suppressed anti-Gaddafi underground resistance is beginning to surface. Already there have been gun-battles reported in three neighborhoods of vast and sprawling Tripoli, and Gaddafi's overstretched and badly downgraded military and security forces will be hard-pressed to stamp out all these potential flashpoints which can rapidly becoming raging fires. How this will all play out is really hard to predict, but "the final game has begun", so to speak, between the forces of change sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa and the entrenched Ancien Re'gime of Muammar Gaddafi, as recounted in the following videos and article excerpts that vividly recount the rebel advances toward the capital:
From Al Jazeera on the beginning of the push into Tripoli in this video:
Sustained automatic gunfire and a series of explosions rang out in Tripoli overnight as rebels launched efforts to permanantly free the Libyan capital from Muammar Gaddafi's grasp, according to reports from witnesses and rebels.********
Blasts and gunfire rocked the city after sunset on Saturday, and witnesses reported street protests and fighting in the eastern neighbourhoods of Souq al-Jomaa, Arada and Tajoura. Residents took to the streets beginning at around 9pm local time, many of them emerging from mosques and chanting "God is great".
Expatriate Libyans speaking to family members in the capital said their relatives described men going out to protest, some with weapons, while children and women were asked to stay home. Meanwhile, NATO aircraft reportedly carried out bombing raids after nightfall.
Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said rebels had tried to attack Tripoli but had been "dealt with".
Ibrahim appeared on state television in the early morning hours in Tripoli's central Green Square, riding in a car and surrounded by tens of supporters. Gaddafi himself never appeared, though he released an audio message congratulating citizens for repelling an attack by "rats". (SEE FULL ARTICLE HERE)
From Sky News on the liberation of Zawiyah, 30 miles west of Tripoli:
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From the Telegraph UK, an excerpt on the first skirmishes inside Tripoli:
Gunfire, anti-aircraft fire and explosions rang out across the city on Saturday night as rebel commanders hailed the start of an attack on the dictator's final stronghold.
Residents reported fighting in several neighbourhoods and said rebels were in the streets, although the Libyan government insisted the capital was "safe and stable".
Jumma Ibrahim, a rebel spokesman, said: "The revolution from inside Tripoli has officially started in many parts...of Tripoli, and is expected to spread to all of Tripoli."
Colonel Fadlallah Haroun, a rebel military commander in Benghazi, claimed the fighting marked the beginning of an assault on the capital coordinated with NATO forces.
Col Haroun said that weapons were assembled and sent by tugboats to Tripoli on Friday night.(SEE FULL ARTICLE HERE)
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