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March 1, 2011
Qaddafi Makes Little Headway in Assault
on Libyan Rebels
DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
BENGHAZI, Libya — Col.
’s forces appeared to make little headway in a
concerted assault on rebels in several cities around the country and in a sustained attack early
Tuesday morning in the western city of Zawiyah.
With escalating hostilities bringing
closer to civil war, rebels appeared to hold the city after
a night of fighting, fending off tanks and artillery vehicles, special forces and regular army troops
and, rebels said, fighter jets.
Rebel leaders in Libya said the latest attacks by Colonel Qaddafi’s supporters smacked of
desperation, and that the failed assault on Zawiyah, a city with important oil resources just 30
miles from the capital, raised questions about the ability of the government to muster a serious
challenge to the rebels’ growing power.
At the same time, Colonel Qaddafi faced a growing international campaign to force him from
power, as the Obama administration announced on Monday that it had seized $30 billion in
Libyan assets and the
adopted an arms embargo and other sanctions.
As the Pentagon
began repositioning Navy warships
to support a possible humanitarian or
military intervention, the United States ambassador to the
promised to maintain
that pressure until the embattled Libyan leader quits. “We are going to keep the pressure on
Gaddafi until he steps down and allows the people of Libya to express themselves freely and
determine their own future," the envoy,
, said in an interview on “Good Morning
On Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton, just back in Washington after consultations in Geneva with foreign
counterparts, warned that Libya could be facing the prospect of a protracted civil war. She also
reiterated that a no-fly zone for Libya was “under active consideration.”
But in her comments, made to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she laid out one of the
several reasons Western countries are moving with caution on such an option. Mrs. Clinton said
that the administration was keenly aware that the Libyan opposition was anxious to be seen “as