On a fact-finding trip into Tripoli last week, I saw first-hand that Gadhafi has solidified his control over the capital and most of western Libya. Foreign diplomats still based in Tripoli confirmed to me that, since NATO started
bombing, Gadhafi support and approval ratings have actually soared to about 85
Of the 2,335 tribes in Libya, over 2,000 are still pledging their allegiance to the embattled president. At present, it is the gasoline shortage due to the embargo and lack of electricity from NATO’s bombing that are causing the most hardship to Libyans inside Gadhafi-controlled sectors.
However, at present, the people still blame NATO — not Gadhafi — for the shortages. In an effort to combat that sentiment and to encourage a popular uprising against Gadhafi, NATO planes have taken to dropping leaflets in canisters over the streets of Tripoli.
Unfortunately for the NATO planning staff, the canisters are heavy enough to cause injury and damage roofs when they plummet to the ground.
As for the messages on the leaflets, the Libyans are quite amused at the clumsy translations. On one such note, the intended slogan is meant to urge
civilians to go forward and “embrace” the rebels. Instead, it translates to encourage Libyans to go out and “copulate” with the rebels.
Another NATO missive was intended to advise those living within Gadhafi’s sector to pack up and move to a rebel-occupied territory. This somehow became garbled into a request for citizens to relocate to a “possessed” (as in, by the devil) area of Libya.