A week or so before Obama launched the attack on Libya, we warned that while an air-campaign could likely ground Gadaffi’s air force—hopes that it would accomplish much more were unfounded.
“Taking away Gadaffi’s ability to perform air-strikes won’t make much of a difference in terms of the military balance in Libya. There would still be a real possibility—perhaps even a probability—that Gadaffi could win or at least fight a protracted civil war,” we warned.
Much of Wall Street seemed to disagree. Stocks and commodities apparently priced in a quick war—just as they did before the Iraq war.
As it turns out, Gadaffi is not going down easily.
Between 6 a.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday, Libyan time, a period during which U.S. and European forces launched 102 air strikes, the rebel movement there suffered their worst defeats since the campaign of Western intervention began more than a week earlier. After having made it all the to the outskirts of Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown and the furthest west the rebels had advanced, loyalist forces quickly pushed the rebels back to the oil-rich town of Ras Lanouf, then to Brega, which has changed hands several times, and now as far east as Ajdabia, a rebel stronghold and strategic crossroads that Qaddafi retook immediately before the air strikes destroyed his forces there.
For the moment, the rebels appear to be losing.
In other words: Gadaffi appears to be winning.
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