Libya’s Rebels: Allied Air Strikes Key in Fighting Gaddafi

Libyas Rebels: Allied Air Strikes Key in Fighting Gaddafi

East Libya’s rebels are fighters, but they’re not an army. As forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi continue to rain Grad missiles and tank shells on rebel positions about 10 km north of Ajdabiyah, most of the rebel fighters seem less than willing to charge forward, despite the frantic urging of some of their peers. “Move! Move, everyone!” shouts a volunteer fighter standing on the roof of a car several kilometers from the battle zone, where crowds of men have gathered on Monday morning. He speaks through an old bullhorn in an effort to mobilize the boisterous group of mostly unarmed men and boys who shout excitedly back at him. “I know that many of you are civilians, but you have the courage to go and protect,” he says.

A few groups of fighters heed the call, packing into trucks bearing mounted machine guns and carrying rocket-propelled grenades as they speed forward into the danger zone amid cheers and gunfire. But most continue to mill around on the desert road, waiting — it seems — for the party that follows the action.