The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Western Libyan towns fall to protesters

This is a rather simple map which tries to get a sense of the ebb and flow of uprisings and regime counterattacks. I will to add more and update regularly.

Most of the big developments in the last few hours have taken place in the west: in Sabratha, a fairly small town west of Tripoli, where the regime has reportedly brought up heavy armor to regain control, and in Misrata, to the east of Tripoli, which AP and others report has fallen completely to the protesters. Misrata is 185km from Tripoli, and is the third-largest city in the country. If it fell because local army units went over to the rebels, and thus it can defend itself, then this would be quite promising. However, if Qaddafi still has enough mobile loyalist forces to move to Misrata, and the Sabratha reports suggest that he might, then this could be a another humanitarian disaster along the lines of what now appears to be happening in Tripoli.

Steve Negus