Hardships in Tripoli buoy rebels

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Motorists in Libya’s capital can wait days for fuel, and when they get it they have to spend about $12 a gallon—when they used to pay 60 cents. Bank withdrawals are limited to 1,000 Libyan dinars (about $625) a month. The prices of bread and other food staples have doubled.

People who recently left Tripoli tell of a city whose struggle to carry on with life as normal masks a pervasive fear. They speak of near daily house raids by the Public Guards, Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s security force dedicated to stamping out any hint of dissent. But they also describe signs that the regime’s control may be weakening, as young loyalists are shipped to a front line that is creeping ever closer to the capital, and frustration mounts with growing shortages and rising prices.

Such reports hearten rebel leaders who hope a weakened security apparatus and frustrated populace will hasten the regime’s collapse.

Rebel commanders say they are counting on armed cells to lead an uprising of Tripoli residents when rebel fighters close in on the city. The mood of residents, the degree of security forces’ control, and the ability of rebels in the city to get weapons and organize will help determine the strength of that potential uprising.

Obtaining a clear picture of what is happening in Tripoli, where Western journalists are shadowed by minders and limited in their movements, is difficult.

Interviews with five people who left the city in recent days—and support the rebels—offer a picture of life in Tripoli as a growing struggle. Blackouts expand by the day, knocking air conditioners out of service as the summer hits full gear. Sanctions and rebel sabotage of an oil pipeline have resulted in fuel shortages.

In a report released Monday, a United Nations team that just completed a weeklong fact-finding mission to Tripoli reported threefold price increases for food and transportation, and shortages of cash, fuel and electricity.

In general, however, basic food supplies can still be found in shops and markets, said Laurence Hart, acting U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Libya, who was on the mission.

“The issue is how sustainable the situation can be,” he said. “The main reason the food stocks are up is because the supply chain between Tunis and Tripoli is under the control of the government. If that should fall under the antigovernment forces, that would cause a serious problem in Tripoli.”

He said medical supplies, cash and fuel supplies were running low. A fuel consumption quota is in place, and Libyan oil experts have warned fuel could run out in two weeks, he said.

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2 thoughts on “Hardships in Tripoli buoy rebels

  1. Colm O' Toole

    It really illustrates what sort of people these rebels are that they would be cheering that food, fuel and medical supplies are running low in Tripoli. What sort of rulers of Libya would these people be? They cheer NATO airstrikes on there own country and are “buoyed” by the lack of food, fuel and medical supplies in the nations capital?

    Why should we condemn the siege of Gaza and yet cheer for this siege on Tripoli? Also notice how NATO intervened to stop a humanitarian disaster in Benghazi and are now promoting one in Tripoli.

    But the real story in Libya (which the WSJ does not cover) is that we are constantly reading about rebel progress only to hear that they are in fact not making any progress. This latest one that the rebels morale is buoyed by the suffering in Tripoli is just the latest example of wishful thinking. The fact is the majority do not support the rebels. The rebels can’t even win power with the assistance of NATO, shows how popular they are.

    Also time is ticking. On August 2nd the holy month of Ramadan starts which will be politically akward for NATO to continue bombing and for the forces inside to continue fighting.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/libyas-rebels-fear-a-setback-as-ramadan-approaches/article2094008/

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14247016

  2. isadore ducasse

    figures for the wall street journal, obviously; crank up a little hope for the boot and arse lickers before ‘they’ crumble into the doogy-doo of their own bullshit

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