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insurrectionary techniques. Hats off to bloggers in Misrata

(BRUSSELS2) We can estimate that they are not journalists because they are just “bloggers”, met on the benches of the university in Rennes, and do not make a living from the profession of journalist” (official definition). I leave that to the experts on the subject. I remember too well the little smirk of a few colleagues, who had welcomed the birth of this blog, or the slightly disdainful comment of a NATO spokesperson on the “French blogger”, so as not to have, a priori, sympathy for them.

In any case, the testimonies/reports that they published on their blog En route! (published in several languages, English, Italian, German, Arabic) are well worth the detour, just like the one published by Rue89 At the beginning of April. They have a freshness and a quality that would undoubtedly deserve to be found more in the “classic” press. They bear witness to the battle of Misrata or Ajdebia, with facts, analyzed and above all contextualized. I can therefore only wish Baptiste, hit in Misrata by a stray bullet, and who has just been repatriated to Benghazi, after much waiting, to get out of this as best as possible. And to all the other bloggers to continue their work.

Two or three articles caught my interest. This will be my weekend read… 

When NATO stopped cutting supply lines

We can thus read the paper on Libyan armaments and oil, ““It’s liquid and it’s black.” It gives an idea of ​​the atmosphere in Benghazi, of the temptation to cut Libya in two which exists more in certain capitals, of the equipment of the rebellion with large BM-21 katyouchas or with recovery equipment from Mi-24s. , and especially Gaddafi's tactics. Already described in these columns by a European expert (*), he adopted the “Tuareg” tactic, large fast 4X4s allowing him to bring supplies (fuel, weapons, etc.), without passing through the main road of the coast, therefore avoiding being bombed. “ The day before yesterday, the 10th, Gaddafi's troops, equipped with brand new 4X4s, raided across the desert and entered the town of Ajdebia, shooting at anything that moves in the deserted streets of its population. In this, these troops have benefited from the experience acquired in Chad and in particular from the commitment of Tuaregs capable of finding passable roads in the desert.. "By abandoning the French tactics of the first days -" France had, in its first raids, bombarded some of these supplies, which had conferred an enormous advantage on the revolution when it found itself confronted with armament comparable to its own » — and by confining itself only to combat zones, in the first weeks, NATO gave an objective advantage to Gaddafi's forces….

Read also:

tamina building by a murderess (© En Route)

Insurrectionary Techniques

We can also read, with interest, the post, dating from April 12, which describes in detail the insurgent techniques. I retain a few elements that are still current, two weeks later, which outline the strengths and weaknesses of the forces present: firepower and “professionalism”, without concern for the population, for some; knowledge of the field, resourcefulness and volunteerism for others.

  • "Thetown planning, which seems to assume both a Haussmanian and postmodern heritage, reveals all its effectiveness. The width of the artery lends itself more easily to the movement of armored vehicles than to its barricading by insurgents. It offers a gigantic straight line for the tanks, from the support positions set back outside the city to the combat zones in the hypercenter. Few corners, few blind spots, progression is done in the open. (…) But, from this large boulevard which crosses the city, the loyalists do not only derive advantages. The movement possibilities it offers also mean exposure to daily harassment from the Shebabs. (…) The demolition of the surrounding area hinders their progress more than that of the insurgents, and the use of armored vehicles and heavy artillery is now difficult with the alleys that surround it.
  • “The Gaddafi forces have every interest in ensuring their position as a lock at the city gates and in renewing the offensives in the port area”.
  • “the knowledge of the terrain and the use made of it by the Shebab (*) defeat the military superiority of the enemy. »
  • “Despite its organization, its superior firepower and its recruiting capacity, the Gaddafi army suffers from another weakness. Even if it has a number of supporters, it is also made up of foreign mercenaries, attracted by the lure of profit, or guys – sometimes very young – conscripted by force. The name loyalist army is sometimes quite usurped: some of these troops have no intimate affection either for power or for this war. This is sometimes felt in their weak capacity for initiative once cut off from their command, or in their remission during critical moments. »…

Finally, one last article – more joyful – Misrata: meeting with a scoop and a gunsmith

(*) Not to be taken in the usual sense of Islamists but of fighters, resistance fighters.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).