Thursday, August 25, 2011

Libyan Revolutionaries Capture Tripoli's Green Square

All Voices
Libyan Rebels Enter Tripoli's Green Square


TRIPOLI: Libyan rebels entered the capital Tripoli on Sunday with little sign of resistance from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in the Libyan leader's last remaining stronghold in the North African nation.

Libyan rebels waved opposition flags and shot into the air in jubilation after reaching Tripoli's central Green Square, live footage from the scene showed in the early hours of Monday.

The vast square, reserved until now for carefully orchestrated rallies praising Muammar Gaddafi, erupted in celebration after rebel troops pushed into the center of the Libyan capital overnight.

Following are reactions from analysts and political players to the fluid events unfolding in Libya following six months of fighting between rebels and Gaddafi's forces.

John Drake, Senior Risk Consultant, UK-based Consultancy Ake "Had the rebels marched into Tripoli in late February the situation would have been very different and the city may have fallen relatively quickly and easily.

"Now, after six months of fighting, the animosity between the two sides is likely to be a lot higher, so there is going to be a risk of violent retribution against those seen as having supported the regime over that time."

Ashour Shamis, Opposition Activist and Journalist, "The game is over for Gaddafi. There's bound to be some resistance here and there but his forces seem to be falling apart. He no longer directs his men.

"I think most Libyans want his men to peacefully surrender but if they resist they will have to be fought.

"If rebel forces capture people who are wanted by The Hague court, they will have to keep them safe until they are handed over to Libyan legal authorities.

"What then happens to those persons arrested, in terms of whether they end up at The Hague court, will I think depend in part on how they conduct themselves (in custody)."

According to Anthony Skinner, Middle East Analyst at Maplecroft, "it does look like it is coming to an end. But there are still plenty of questions. The most important is exactly what Gaddafi does now. Does he flee or can he fight? In the slightly longer term, what happens next? We know there have been some serious divisions between the rebel movement and we don't know yet if they will be able to form a cohesive front is to run the country.

"Looking further afield, it is obviously going to be very uncomfortable viewing for Assad in Syria. Obviously they are very different cases, particularly because of the outside military involvement in Libya. But it's another sign that when you use brutal force against protesters, you lose legitimacy. It just inflames the situation and at the end of the day we have seen another regional leader forced from power.

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