Thursday, March 31, 2011

Libya Conflict: Situation Update

Here are some insights into the civil war in Libya including the activities of the NATO related coalition at are thus far providing air support.

JRH 3/31/11 (12:30 PM Central Time)
Libya Conflict: Situation Update

View Libya Conflict Map.kmz in a larger map

On March 19, the United States launched Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya following the passage of a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of all necessary measures to protect civilians from assaults by forces loyal to Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi. This joint Institute for the Study of War and Critical Threats Project tracker will provide continuous updates on U.S. and coalition operations and on the latest developments in Libya with a focus on the activities of pro-Qaddafi and opposition forces.

Last Updated: March 31, 2011 at 12:13 PM EST.

MARCH 31: Clandestine CIA operatives have been on the ground in Libya for several weeks gathering intelligence for military airstrikes and to liaison and vet the rebels. The number of CIA operatives is unknown; many of them came from the CIA’s Tripoli station while others have more recently arrived from a CIA staging ground in the UAE. U.S. officials said the CIA and British operatives were not directing the rebel forces, which recently suffered a major reversal at Sirte. President Obama signed a secret finding several weeks ago giving the CIA the authority to provide arms and other support to the rebels, however, no arms have been shipped yet due to internal debates in the administration. There are also dozens of British SAS, SBS and MI6 intelligence officers are working alongside the Libyan rebels and locating Qaddafi’s surface-to-air missile batteries. (New York Times, Military Times, Washington Post)

MARCH 31: U.S. officials hailed the defection of Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa as an example of the growing splits inside Qaddafi’s inner circle. Koussa and other senior Libyan officials have recently reached out to at least 12 countries to discuss either defections or ways to end the Libyan conflict. There is hope inside the Obama administration that a larger rebellion could take place. Koussa flew from Tunisia aboard a private jet to a noncommercial British airfield in Farnborough, southwest of London. He has not been promised or granted immunity by the British. Koussa was the head of Qaddafi’s intelligence service from 1995 to 2009, and is believed to be one of the masterminds behind many of Libya’s acts of state-sponsored terrorism, including the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 that killed 270 people including 189 Americans. (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, BBC)

MARCH 31: Ali Abdussalam Treki, appointed by Qaddafi as Libya’s permanent representative to the UN, refused to accept the post, condemning the “spilling of blood” in a statement read by his nephew. (Reuters)

MARCH 31: Arriving Wednesday evening in London, Libyan foreign minister Musa Kusa announced his resignation and defection from the Qaddafi regime. British Foreign Secretary William Hague cited Kusa’s defection as evidence that Qaddafi’s rule is “under pressure and crumbling from within.” Kusa is the latest senior Libyan official to have broken ranks with the Qaddafi regime. (Washington Post)

MARCH 30: The White House has reported that it is considering options for “all types of assistance” to opposition forces in Libya. The U.S. director of national intelligence, James Clapper, additionally compared the rebel forces to a “pickup basketball team.” Despite the rebels’ pleading for arms, no decision has been made on whether the U.S. will provide weapons assistance. (Associated Press)
MARCH 30: Opposition forces in Derna reported that rebel fighters have been pushed further back towards Ajdabiya. (Wall Street Journal)

Authored by Anthony Bell and David Witter

MARCH 31: Clandestine CIA operatives have been on the ground in Libya for several weeks gathering intelligence for military airstrikes and to liaison and vet the rebels. The number of CIA operatives is unknown; many of them came from the CIA’s Tripoli station while others have more recently arrived from a CIA staging ground in the UAE. U.S. officials said the CIA and British operatives were not directing the rebel forces, which recently suffered a major reversal at Sirte. President Obama signed a secret finding several weeks ago giving the CIA the authority to provide arms and other support to the rebels, however, no arms have been shipped yet due to internal debates in the administration. There are also dozens of British SAS, SBS and MI6 intelligence officers are working alongside the Libyan rebels and locating Qaddafi’s surface-to-air missile batteries. (New York Times, Military Times, Washington Post)

MARCH 31: U.S. officials hailed the defection of Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa as an example of the growing splits inside Qaddafi’s inner circle. Koussa and other senior Libyan officials have recently reached out to at least 12 countries to discuss either defections or ways to end the Libyan conflict. There is hope inside the Obama administration that a larger rebellion could take place. Koussa flew from Tunisia aboard a private jet to a noncommercial British airfield in Farnborough, southwest of London. He has not been promised or granted immunity by the British. Koussa was the head of Qaddafi’s intelligence service from 1995 to 2009, and is believed to be one of the masterminds behind many of Libya’s acts of state-sponsored terrorism, including the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 that killed 270 people including 189 Americans. (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, BBC)

MARCH 30: The U.S. military has been employing U-2 spy planes, Global Hawk drone, and an E-8 Joint JSTARS, to track Libyan troop movements. The Air Force also has Predator drones in reserve. (New York Times)

MARCH 30: According to U.S. and NATO officials, pro-Qaddafi forces have adopted new tactics after suffering numerous airstrikes on their tanks and armored vehicles. Qaddafi’s troops have left their heavy armor behind and have begun using technical and civilian minivans, sedans and SUVs, making them difficult to distinguish from rebel forces and civilians. (Associated Press)

MARCH 30: U.S. officials have said that Libyan rebels are not subject to U.S. sanctions on the Qaddafi regime provided the rebels avoid business regime entities, potentially allowing them to sell oil from rebel-held areas. There are, however, legal questions surrounding any potential rebel oil sales. Rebels do not have legal title to oilfields, lift stations and pipelines and terminals and oil companies and insurance companies would be unlikely to risk sending tankers and personnel to the area. (Reuters)

MARCH 30: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has state the administration had not reached a decision to provide arms to the rebels. The White House said it is assessing options for “all types of assistance.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his government has made no decision about arming the rebels and that “we want to know about any links with al-Qaeda.” French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet stated arms assistance was not compatible with UNSCR 1973. (Military Times, Washington Post, BBC)

MARCH 30: Of the estimated $550 million dollars spent by the United States in the Libya campaign so far, the U.S. Air Force has spent approximately $50 million, or $4 million per day, depending on the expenditure of munitions. U.S. expenditures are expected to level out at about $40 million a month according to Pentagon officials. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the Air Force’s new F-22 fighter, which was expected to be used early on in the Libya campaign, would be used "in the early days" of a Libyan operation, had not been used because there are no F-22s based in Europe or the Middle East and the warplanes were poorly suited for air to ground operations. (The Hill)

MARCH 30: A NATO airstrike against a Libyan ammunition depot in Mizdah, approximately 100 miles south of Tripoli, caused rockets to go off and hit the town's hospital, an apartment complex and a house. Several civilians were injured but there were no deaths reported. (LA Times)

MARCH 30: British Prime Minister David Cameron informed British lawmakers that “helping” the Libyan rebels arm themselves for defense would not be counter to UNSCR 1973’s arms embargo on Libya. Belgium and Denmark have stated they are against arming the rebels. (Reuters)

MARCH 30: There were no allied airstrikes on pro-Qaddafi forces in Sirte as rebel forces advanced on the city and were routed by superior firepower from Qaddafi’s troops entrenched with rockets, artillery and tanks outside of Sirte at the town of Bin Jawwad. The rebels reportedly retreated en masse to Uqaylah, reportedly retreating from the strategic cities of Ras Lanuf and Brega. (LA Times, BBC)

MARCH 30: Ugandan officials have said Present Yoweri Museveni would welcome Qaddafi to live in exile in Uganda. Uganda is the first country to offer Qaddafi exile. (Associated Press)

MARCH 29: U.S. intelligence agencies have said that there are some Islamists fighters with potential ties to al-Qaeda among the anti-Qaddafi rebels, but the number was relatively small and they played a limited role. A former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group leader Noman Benotman estimated that around a thousand “freelance jihadists” are fighting among the anti-Qaddafi rebels. He also said al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb, an al-Qaeda offshoot in North Africa, has tried but failed to co-opt the leadership of the rebel movement. (Washington Times, Wall Street Journal)

MARCH 29: There is an intense debate inside the Obama administration about whether to supply weapons to the rebels. Some officials believe that providing arms would deepen U.S. involvement and that some rebels have links to al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliates. France had been strongly pushing the Obama administration to begin arming the rebels, while rebel leader Mahmoud Shammam, said they would welcome arms along with political support. (New York Times)

MARCH 29: At the London Conference on Libya, allies created a contact group to lead enforcement of U.N. sanctions and organized political efforts against Qaddafi and a second trip to Libya was expected to be made by the U.N. Special Envoy Abdelilah Khatib, the former Foreign Minister of Jordan. Khatib was expected to negotiate terms for Qaddafi’s exit from the Libya; although there appears to be contention that if Qaddafi did abdicate whether any deal would include immunity from possible war crimes trials. (LA Times)

MARCH 29: A Navy P-3C Orion launched several AGM-65F air-to-surface missiles at the Libyan Coast Guard vessel Vittoria, a 12-meter patrol craft, which was attacking merchant vessels in the port city of Misrata—where a rebel forces remains besieged by pro-Qaddafi forces and has reportedly being resupplied by rebel ships from Benghazi—forcing it to beach. The Orion was joined by an Air Force A-10 and the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Barry, the A-10 strafed two smaller Libyan ships, destroying one and forcing the crew to abandon the other. (Military Times)

MARCH 29: The U.S. guided-missile destroyer Barry launched 22 Tomahawk cruise missiles at weapon storage sites near Tripoli. The pace of U.S. airstrikes has increased recently, there were reportedly 119 strikes on Monday, 107 on Sunday and 88 on Saturday. (New York Times)

MARCH 29: U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said intelligence agencies had found "flickers" of an al-Qaeda or Hezbollah presence in the rebels but that there was no detailed portrait of the emerging Libyan opposition. (Daily Telegraph)

MARCH 29: The Pentagon has stated that the military campaign in Libya has cost about $550 million so far, which is largely for bombs and missiles. This is the first official price tag for operations in Libya released so far. (Boston Globe, Reuters)

MARCH 29: At a conference in London to discuss the future of Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the Libyan Interim National Council's Mahmoud Jabril, a former head of Libya's economic planning council. It was their second meeting in two weeks. The Obama administration is also planning to send a diplomatic liaison to the rebel capital of Benghazi to open up communications with the rebel government. Chris Stevens, who was formerly the Charge d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, has been appointed to communicate with the Libyan opposition. The United States is reportedly trying to make the $30 billion dollars in Qaddafi’s funds frozen by the U.S. Treasury available to the rebels. (CNN)

MARCH 29: Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was to ask parliament today to send eight Gripen fighter jets to join Coalition operations in Libya, but he insisted they not be used in ground strikes. This would be the first mission abroad for the Swedish Air force since the early 1960s. (Daily Telegraph, Stockholm News)

MARCH 28: President Obama delivered a primetime address arguing that the U.S. military campaign in Libya was necessary to avoid a massacre at Benghazi, that the mission was in America's interests but the military role would be limited to protecting civilians, not regime change. (White House, Washington Post)

MARCH 28: The U.S. military employed two AC-130 flying gunships, six A-10 tank-killer attack aircraft and two B-1B bombers against Libyan ground forces over the weekend, targeting enemy ground troops and supply convoys. The AC-130s are flying out of an air base in Italy. They were requested by Gen. Carter Ham, who said they are likely to continue being used over Libya to ratchet up the pressure on Qaddafi’s forces. (Washington Post, New York Times)

MARCH 28: Coalition aircraft have begun psychological operations against pro-Qaddafi forces, sending messages in Arabic and English telling Libyan soldiers to leave their posts and go home. U.S. intelligence-gathering aircraft, such as the EC-130J Commando Solo have also taken the lead in the Coalition in intercepting Libyan radio transmissions and using the information to relay attacks on Libyan ground forces. Global Hawk drones have also been tracking Libyan ground force movements, providing intelligence to E-3 Sentry AWACS that relay targets to warplanes for attack. (New York Times)

MARCH 28: U.S. warplanes also attacked three Libyan vessels off the contested western port of Misrata. Besieged rebel forces in Misrata were reportedly resupplied by a boat delivering weapons and ammunition from Benghazi, and received three resupply boats on Sunday, said Aiman Abu-Bakr, a rebel leader. One Libyan patrol boat, the Vittoria, was forced to beach. Two smaller vessels were hit and one sank. It was the first known incident of attacks at sea since Coalition forces began operations in Libya. (Wall Street Journal, New York Times)

MARCH 28: The United States launched six Tomahawk cruise missiles against the headquarters of Qaddafi’s elite 32nd Brigade, one of the regime’s most loyal units and is highly active in terms of attacking civilians. Also struck were several targets around Tripoli and Sabha, mostly ammunition stores, bunkers, and an SA-6 site in Tripoli. In the last 24 hours, the coalition has flown 178 sorties, most of which were airstrikes. Airstrikes have also been conducted around command-and-control sites in Sirte. So far in the campaign, U.S. forces have fired 199 Tomahawks, Coalition forces have fired seven, and approximately 600 precision-guided munitions have been used, 455 by the U.S., and 147 by the Coalition in approximately 983 sorties. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 28: According to General Carter F. Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), “The regime still vastly overmatches opposition forces militarily.” He also said that “the regime possesses the capability to roll them back very quickly. Coalition air power is the major reason that has not happened.” (New York Times)

MARCH 28: Qatar granted diplomatic recognition to the Transitional National Council—the rebel government in Benghazi—as the official government of Libya. Qatar became the first Arab state and the second country after France to officially recognize the rebel government. Qatar has reportedly sent shipments of medical supplies to rebels besieged in Misrata, and to Benghazi, and has also sent warplanes to Coalition operations over Libya. Qatari Mirage fighters have flown in formation with French fighters out of airbase in Crete in four-plane patrols over rebel-controlled eastern Libya. The Qatar has brought along several Pakistani technical advisors that assist the Qartari air force. (BBC, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press)

MARCH 28: Rebel forces are reportedly closing in on Nawfaliyah, a town west of Bin Jawad, and extending their advance towards Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, approximately 120km (75 miles) west. However, rebel forces appear to have run into Qaddafi’s first line of defenses, with regime forces dug into positions along a heavily mined road and are shelling the rebel forces advancing. Qaddafi forces appear to have withdrawn their heavy armor from Sirte further north to the Greater Tripoli area. (BBC, al-Jazeera)

MARCH 28: U.S. warships launched six Tomahawk missiles from positions in the Mediterranean Sea, bringing the total number of long-range cruise missiles fired by the coalition to 199. (CBS News)

MARCH 28: There are indications that Coalition operations in Libya will be conducted under new and stricter rules of engagement under NATO command. Potentially, these new rules would not allow NATO warplanes to target pro-Qaddafi forces unless they posed an immediate threat to civilians. Individual Coalition participants and pilots have had a wide-range of discretion on which targets to strike. There is speculation that until these new rules come into effect, French and British will increase airstrikes to inflict as much damage as possible on Qaddafi’s forces. Additionally, NATO’s Secretary-General ruled out the alliance would arm rebels, insisting the UN-sanctioned arms embargo applied to the entire country. (Guardian, CNN)

MARCH 28: The British military announced that British Tornado GR4 aircraft had struck pro-Qaddafi ammunition bunkers in the Sabha region, which far south of Tripoli. The bunkers were reportedly being used to supply Qaddafi’s forces further north, and initial reports indicated that they were destroyed by the airstrike. (BBC)

MARCH 27: Pentagon officials said that pro-Qaddafi forces remain a potent threat to civilians and the U.S. military is looking at plans to increase U.S. firepower and intelligence gathering over Libya. This would possibly include the introduction of the Air Force's AC-130 gunship, attack helicopters and unmanned drones. These assets would allow more precision strikes on pro-Qaddafi forces in heavy urban areas like Misrata, which Allied airstrikes have largely avoided because of the potential for civilian casualties. Allied airstrikes outside Misrata continued throughout the night, reportedly destroying a major ammunition depot used by pro-Qaddafi forces. (LA Times, Associated Press)

MARCH 27: The U.S. military stated that in the previous 24 hours, U.S. aircraft had conducted 88 combat strikes against Libyan targets, down from 96 strikes the previous day. AV-8B Harrier jets from 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted airstrikes on pro-Qaddafi tanks and armored personnel carriers near the city of Misrata. (Military Times, ENC)

MARCH 27: NATO members agreed that the military alliance would take full command of Coalition operations in Libya, ending over a week of intense negotiations over the alliance’s involvement. Canadian Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, commander of the NATO operations, said NATO had already taken over the no-fly operation. The first NATO sorties flew over Libya on Sunday. However, full transition of Coalition operations to NATO command is expected to be complete by the end of the week. (Reuters, CNN, NATO)

MARCH 27: A Pentagon official stated the United States was beginning to reduce the number of U.S. warships involved in operations off the coast of Libya. According to the official, at least one of the Navy submarines, which have been used to fire Tomahawk missiles into Libya, had left the area and that a further withdrawal of U.S. naval forces was likely. (New York Times, Military Times)

MARCH 27: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated Coalition operations had prevented Qaddafi’s forces from entering Benghazi and taken out a significant portion of Qaddafi’s armored forces. He said, “I think we have, to a very large extent, completed the military mission, in terms of getting it set up.” Gates said the Obama administration and Coalition had not made a decision on supplying arms to rebel forces, although he said UNSCR 1973 permitted such action. Gates said NATO taking control of the operations would allow the U.S. military to begin reducing its presence. Further, Gates acknowledged that the war in Libya was “not a vital national interest to the United States.” Both Gates and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton left open the length of U.S. involvement in Libya. (Department of Defense, New York Times, LA Times)

MARCH 27: The French military announced its warplanes had struck pro-Qaddafi armored vehicles and a large munitions depot in Misrata and Zintan. (CNN)

MARCH 26: Coalition airstrikes began targeting Qaddafi’s hometown and coastal stronghold of Sirte for the first time. Additionally, there were at least nine suspected airstrikes in Tripoli. Qaddafi had reinforced his forces in Misrata with about 1,000 gunmen as Coalition airstrikes on pro-Qaddafi forces on the outskirts of the city have driven them deeper into the city to blend in amongst civilians as they engage in street-to-street fighting with rebels. (Washington Post)

MARCH 26: President Obama used his weekly radio address to Coalition involvement in Libya and address. Obama said he ordered U.S. warplanes over Libya to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and a "blood bath" at Benghazi. The President stated that the United States is not being drawn into a wider war in Libya. (LA Times, White House)

MARCH 26: Pro-Qaddafi forces pulled back from Ajdabiya in the face of a rebel offensive and Coalition airstrikes. Rebels took Ajdabiya and continued westwards for 50 miles, taking the city of Brega and Ras Lanuf with little resistance. Ajdabiya is important because it controls the water supply to Bengazhi, which Qaddafi forces had disrupted. Brega and Ras Lanuf have important oil refineries and a port. Rebels continued advancing the front line west from Ras Lanuf toward Bin Jawwad, near Sirte. (Ministry of Defense)

MARCH 26: General Carter F. Ham confirmed that Coalition airstrikes were striking troops from the Libyan 32nd Brigade, a crack unit based out of Tripoli and commanded by one of Qaddafi’s sons, Khamis Qaddafi. (New York Times)

MARCH 25: According to British military officials, Qaddafi controls 600 miles of coastline including numerous ports that will need to be monitored by Coalition warships. Coalition warships using helicopters and aircraft will be employed to gather intelligence and assist commanders in boarding operations if necessary. Coalition warships will patrol the Libyan coast for weeks at a time and will be supported by tankers and other auxiliary ships. (Ministry of Defense)

MARCH 25: A naval academy and depot approximately 20 miles from Tripoli were reportedly hit by an airstrike and destroyed. U.S. military officials stated the Coalition no-fly zone extended from the Libyan coastline, to Sabha, approximately 480 miles south of Tripoli. However, Coalition airstrikes had failed to break pro-Qaddafi forces’ siege of Misrata, where a small rebel force is held up. (WSJ)

MARCH 25: The U.S. military stated Coalition forces had fired 16 Tomahawk cruise missiles and flown 153 sorties in the past 24 hours against pro-Qaddafi forces, targeting artillery, mechanized forces and command and control infrastructure. (Reuters)

MARCH 25: The United Arab Emirates announced it was joining the U.S.-led Coalition and dispatching six F-16s and six Mirage fighters to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. A former UAE air force commander stated that the UAE had delayed its deployment because of disagreements with the United States and Europe over the unrest in Bahrain. The UAE is the second Arab state to offer aircraft for the Libyan operations, with Qatar the first. (AFP)

MARCH 25: A NATO official said planning for NATO's no-fly operation was assuming the mission would last 90 days, although this could be adjusted as necessary. Admiral Edouard Guillaud, the head of French armed forces, said "I doubt that it will be days…I think it will be weeks. I hope it will not take months." (Reuters)

MARCH 25: British Tornado GR4 warplanes conducted on armed reconnaissance sortie over eastern Libya launched “coordinated” airstrikes overnight around Ajdabiya. The British aircraft fired a number of Brimstone missiles at pro-Qaddafi armored vehicles that were threatening civilians in Ajdabiya airstrikes. (BBC)

MARCH 25: French warplanes destroyed a pro-Qaddafi artillery battery near the frontline city of Ajdabiya, 150 km (90 miles) south of Benghazi. Ajdabiya is strategically located along the coastal highway running east-west, making it vital for both sides to control. (Reuters)

MARCH 25: Diplomats at the United Nations said Sudan had granted Coalition forces permission to use Sudanese airspace to enforce the no-fly zone. Additionally, Uganda said it would freeze Libyan assets worth about $375 million in accordance with U.N. sanctions. (Reuters)

MARCH 25: U.S. and European officials hammered out a deal to transfer Coalition command of the Libyan no-fly zone to NATO in several days. However, officials confirmed U.S. aircraft would still be flying combat missions against pro-Qaddafi ground forces. The transfer to NATO command was arranged by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her French, British and Turkish counterparts. (Washington Post, LA Times)

MARCH 24: There are now twenty-six Coalition warships are participating in operations off the coast of Libya, including twelve U.S. warships and two European aircraft carriers, France’s Charles De Gaulle and Italy’s Garibaldi. Combat aircraft from both carriers are participating in operations. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 24: Pro-Qaddafi forces are reportedly running low on fuel, ammunition and food because the allied aircraft have cut supply lines to Qaddafi’s stronghold of Sirt, where Qaddafi is from. U.S. military officials said in addition to Coalition airstrikes against pro-Qaddafi forces outside of Ajdabiya, Coalition strikes were conducted against a regime command and control facility and a surface-to-air missile site near Tripoli, along with an ammunition dump near Misrata. (LA Times)

MARCH 24: French Rafale fighter destroyed a Libyan warplane on the ground after it flew over Misrata in defiance of the no-fly zone. The Libyan aircraft was a Soko G-2 Galeb, a twin-seat ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft produced by Yugoslavia. It is reportedly the first Libyan warplane to fly since the beginning of Coalition military operations. (ABC News, BBC, LA Times)

MARCH 24: According to Navy vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Coalition warplanes conducted 130 sorties in the past 24 hours. 49 airstrikes were against targets around Tripoli and Ajdabiya. Approximately half of the sorties were flown by U.S. aircraft. (LA Times)

MARCH 24: Col. Gaddafi’s Bab Al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli was attacked by Coalition aircraft for a second time. The Bab Al-Aziziya compound was also struck on March 20 by two British Tomahawk missiles. According to U.S. officials, the strike was not pre-selected but a target of opportunity taken by the pilots. (ABC News)

MARCH 24: A Coalition airstrike was reported at a microwave tower on a Libyan military base in Tajura, a suburb east of Tripoli, which allegedly killed 18 Libyan military personnel. Fuel tanks located south of Tripoli were also struck, according to Libyan military officials.(CNN)

MARCH 24: According to Vice Marshall Greg Bagwell of Britain's Royal Air Force, airstrikes had successfully degraded Libyan air defenses enough to allow Coalition aircraft to operate with “near impunity” across Libya. (CNN)

MARCH 24: French aircraft struck Libyan airbase approximately 155 miles south of the Libyan coastline, likely at al-Juffra airbase—one of the two airbases in the remote Libyan interior. Al-Juffra is located along the main highway that leads to Chad, Sudan and Niger from which mercenary fighters and arms have been flowing north to support pro-Gaddafi forces. (ABC News, BBC)

MARCH 24: U.S. naval forces along with the Britain’s HMS Triumph, a Royal Navy Trafalgar Class submarine, fired approximately a dozen Tomahawk missiles at Libyan air defense targets in Tripoli and south of the capital. Other missiles struck an ammunition bunker around Misratah and against pro-Gaddafi forces south of Benghazi. (Ministry of Defense, ABC News)

MARCH 24: Turkey, which had initially opposed handing off the no-fly zone operation to NATO, shifted its opinion, apparently after pressure from President Obama to participate, and has insisted the no-fly zone be limited to a NATO-only operation. Turkey announced it was sending 6 warships including 4 frigates, 1 submarine and 1 support vessel to the Libyan coast to enforce the arms embargo. (WSJ, Reuters, AGI, White House)

MARCH 24: Coalition warplanes struck targets in the town of Sebha in southern Libya, located approximately 480 miles south of Tripoli. Sebha is a known stronghold of Col. Gaddafi and the location of a major Libyan military base. (BBC)

MARCH 23: On the fifth day of operations over Libya, the 13-nation alliance had reportedly flown more than 336 sorties. The United States had flown 212 of the sorties, while coalition sorties totaled 124. Of the 336 sorties, 108 were dubbed “strike sorties,” meaning they encountered pro- Gaddafi forces in some way. Additionally, the number of Tomahawk missile launches totaled 162. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 23: Romanian President Traian Basescu won support to participate in coalition naval operations off the coast of Libya. A Romanian frigate carrying 205 Romanian sailors and two naval officers would join Coalition naval forces in the Mediterranean to enforce the arms embargo. (Reuters)

MARCH 23: Coalition airstrikes reportedly halted Qaddafi's assault on the rebel-held western city of Misratah and Ajdabiya. The strikes targeted pro-Qaddafi tanks, artillery and rocket launchers in and around the cities, as well as mobile surface-to-air missile sites and lines of communication and supply. Some pro-Qaddafi tanks and fighters fled the cities, but reportedly returned to their positions during the night and continued attacking. Prior to the Misratah strikes, U.S. Rear Admiral Peg Klein said airstrikes, which had been suppressing Libya's air defenses, would begin hitting Gaddafi's ground forces. (Reuters, Washington Post)

MARCH 23: The French foreign minister, Alain Juppé, stated that representatives from the United States, Europe, Africa and the Arab nations would meet next week in London to discuss command of military operations in Libya. (New York Times)

MARCH 23: Germany announced it was withdrawing four of its naval ships in the Mediterranean under NATO command. In order to compensate this withdrawal, Germany announced it would deploy 300 more troops to Afghanistan to support surveillance aircraft. (New York Times)

MARCH 23: A Danish F-16 for the first time dropped precision bombs on targets in Libya, the first Danish airstrike of the campaign. (Ennahar)

MARCH 23: Navy Adm. Gary Roughead stated the EA-18G Growler, the Navy’s newest electronic warfare aircraft, had performed well in operations over Libya. The five-jet Growler squadron had been flying missions over Iraq just 47 hours before being redeployed to Libya. (American Forces Press Service)

MARCH 23: General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said he was not concerned that operations in Libya would divert military resources from Afghanistan. (Reuters)

MARCH 22: U.S. planes bombed the wreckage of the F-15 fighter that went down in Libya due to mechanical failure. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the wreckage was bombed, "to prevent materials from getting into the wrong hands." (Reuters)

MARCH 22: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates stated that operations in Libya would soon decline significantly. Secretary Gates, visiting Moscow, rejected assertions by Russian officials and others that air strikes in Libya were causing a significant number of civilian casualties. (New York Times)

MARCH 22: Four British Tornado GR4's relocated from RAF Marham in Norfolk, England, joining ten Typhoons and four Tornado GR4's at Gioia del Colle airbase in southern Italy to conduct operations over Libya. The redeployment brings the total RAF aircraft stationed in Italy to eighteen. (British Forces News)

MARCH 22: Two Italian F-16s flying out of Trapani-Birgi participated in operations over Libya. (Avionews)

MARCH 21: Four British Tornados flew south from RAF Marham in Norfolk, England for an armed reconnaissance flight over Libya to protect civilians from attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces, no missiles were reported fired. (British Forces News, Ministry of Defense)

MARCH 21: Six Danish F-16s were reported to have flown ‘high risk' missions over Libya. Four Danish aircraft were waiting for U.S. instructions to join operations over Libya while two would be kept in reserve. Danish aircraft are reportedly flying out of the U.S. air base in Sigonella, Sicily. According to Danish officials, their aircraft had not fired any missiles, and had not been fired upon. (Reuters, Copenhagen Post)

MARCH 21: Canada deployed six CF-18 Hornets over northern Libya, but they did not carry out any strikes. Canadian aircraft were reportedly flying out of Decimomannu airbase in Sardinia, Italy. (Reuters)

MARCH 21: Norway deployed six fighter aircraft to Crete to join the operations over Libya. The Norwegian Defense Minister, however, stated they would not engage in action until an effective, transparent command structure was in place. (Reuters)

MARCH 21: Two U.S. Air Force crew members ejected from their F-15E Strike Eagle after the aircraft encountered an equipment malfunction over Benghazi. The F-15E was assigned to conduct a strike mission against Gaddafi regime missile capabilities. At the request of one of the downed crewmembers, two Marine Harriers dropped two 500-pound bombs on a force moving towards him before a Marine Osprey helicopter landed to pick him up. The rescue operation stirred controversy after reports that Libyan civilians were wounded by the bombs or shot by the rescue team. The other crew member was recovered and provided care by Libyan civilians (or rebels) and was also rescued. (Washington Post, New York Times)

MARCH 21: General Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, stated that no Libyan military aircraft had been observed flying since operations began; Libyan naval vessels had returned to or have remained in port and after the initial strikes there have been no detections of emissions from regime long-range, air-defense radars. Coalition forces were working on extending the no-fly zone southward, then westward from Benghazi to Brega, Misratah, and then to Tripoli. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 21: General Carter Ham noted that distinguishing between pro-Gaddafi and rebel forces were very difficult, especially when they are in close contact. He reported that coalition forces were aware that some rebels had armored vehicles and heavy weapons. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 20: Qatar was poised to move four French-made Mirage 2000/9 combat aircraft to Souda airbase on Crete to participate in operations over Libya. France dispatched its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier toward Crete to participate in the operation. The carrier is loaded with 15 fighter planes and joined by a French submarine and half a dozen support ships. (Reuters)

MARCH 20: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the U.S. expected to turn control of the Libya military mission over to a coalition — probably headed either by the French and British or by NATO — "in a matter of days." (Associated Press)

MARCH 20: Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that coalition strikes had already has taken out most of Gaddafi’s air defenses and airfields, and that the no-fly zone in Libya has been effectively established. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 20: Italian forces joined operation over Libya for the first time with six Tornado flying out of Trapani airbase in Sicily. Earlier Italian officials said 8 aircraft had been assigned to the mission. Additionally, 15 French combat planes conducted patrols over Libya without encountering resistance. (Reuters)

MARCH 20: 15 U.S. Air Force F-15Es and F-16s and Marine Corps Harriers flying from bases in Europe, supported by U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers and joined by aircraft from France and the U.K., attacked pro- Gaddafi mechanized infantry forces located approximately 10 miles south of Benghazi. The strikes halted the regime’s advance on Benghazi. In all, Coalition forces flew approximately 60 sorties, half of which were done by U.S. forces. The strikes were not conducted in coordination with rebels. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 20: Three B-2 Spirit bombers operating from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri dropped a total of 45 one-ton JDAMs on Libyan aircraft fields and shelters around Ghardabiya, not far from Misratah, the targets were successfully destroyed. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 20: 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from U.S. and British ships in the Mediterranean against Libyan command-and-control facilities, a Scud surface-to-surface missile facility and a re-attack of an air-defense site which had previously been attacked. Targeted Libyan radar sites are reported to have been successfully disabled or destroyed, the only remaining operational radar sites are reportedly around Tripoli and Surt. (Department of Defense)

MARCH 20: The RAF, operating under Operation Ellamy, launched Tornado GR4 fast jets from RAF Marham in Norfolk, England, which flew to Libya where they launched Storm Shadow missiles at Libyan air-defense targets. They then flew back to RAF Marham, completing a 3,000-mile round trip—the longest range bombing mission conducted by the RAF since the Falklands conflict. In addition to a Trafalgar-class submarine and Typhoon air support, the U.K. announced that two Royal Navy frigates were off the coast of Libya supporting coalition operations. (Ministry of Defense)

MARCH 19: British Prime Minister David Cameron announced British forces were in action over Libya as part of the international coalition enforcing the United Nations Security Council resolution in order to support the Libyan people. Cameron stated the “time for action has come” after it became clear that Muammar Gaddafi had violated his own ceasefire. (Office of the Prime Minister)

MARCH 19: France announced it was sending its Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier to the Libyan coast to participate in the operation; Canada stated its fighter jets had reached the region but would need two days of preparation before participating. (BBC)

MARCH 19: President Barack Obama announces he ordered the U.S. military to begin, “a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians.” The President reiterated a promise not to deploy any U.S. troops on the ground into Libya. (White House)

MARCH 19: Participants at the Paris Summit release a communiqué demanding a ceasefire and reiterating their determination to enforce UNSCR 1973. They also praise the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC). Summit participants include leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, Canada, Norway, Qatar, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco; and representatives from the United Nations, European Union, and the Arab League. (Communiqué)

MARCH 19: In the opening salvo of Operation Odyssey Dawn, two U.S. destroyers and four submarines—along with one British submarine—located in the Mediterranean Sea fired approximately 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles. The missiles struck more than 20 different targets of the Libyan air defense system including surface-to-air missiles, early warning sites and communication facilities. The majority of the targets were located in western Libya, in and around Tripoli, Misratah, and Surt. These missile strikes were designed to create the conditions necessary to set up the no-fly zone and begin manned-flights over Libya. (Department of Defense, New York Times)

MARCH 19: French military forces begin Operation Harmattan. Approximately twenty French aircraft enforced a no-fly zone over eastern Libya to protect the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. The French plane fired the first shot in Libya at 1645 GMT. French aircraft attack Gaddafi ground forces on the highway between Benghazi and Ajdabiya, destroying a number of tanks and armored vehicles. (Ministre de la Défense)

MARCH 18: The United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Arab States released a joint statement after a high-level summit meeting in Paris demanding that Qaddafi immediately implement a cease fire and stop attacks against civilians ended in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973. Further, the coalition called on Gaddafi to stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull back his troops from Ajdabiya, Misratah, and Zawiyah, and re-establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. They warned that if Gaddafi did not comply, then UNSCR 1973 would be enforced through military action. (Office of the Prime Minister)

MARCH 17: The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973, which authorized member states to act through national or regional organizations to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack from pro-Gaddafi forces, excluding any form of a foreign occupation force. In addition to a no-fly zone, it authorized an asset freeze and an arms embargo—including the prevention of armed mercenary personnel flowing into Libya. Voting for the resolution were permanent Security Council members the United States, the United Kingdom, and France; they were joined by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, and South Africa. Abstaining from the vote were permanent Security Council members Russia and China; they were joined by Germany, Brazil and India. No member states were opposed. (UNSCR Resolution 1973, New York Times)

Authored by Henry Ensher, Alex Della Rocchetta, Reza Jan, Maseh Zarif

MARCH 31: Ali Abdussalam Treki, appointed by Qaddafi as Libya’s permanent representative to the UN, refused to accept the post, condemning the “spilling of blood” in a statement read by his nephew. (Reuters)

MARCH 31: Arriving Wednesday evening in London, Libyan foreign minister Musa Kusa announced his resignation and defection from the Qaddafi regime. British Foreign Secretary William Hague cited Kusa’s defection as evidence that Qaddafi’s rule is “under pressure and crumbling from within.” Kusa is the latest senior Libyan official to have broken ranks with the Qaddafi regime. (Washington Post)

MARCH 31: Calling from Misrata, rebel spokesman Sami reported that pro-Qaddafi forces resumed “artillery bombardment this morning. The pro-Qaddafi forces could not enter the town but they are surrounding it.” (Reuters)

MARCH 30: Pro-Qaddafi forces, under the cover of heavy tank and artillery fire, retook the town of Brega, forcing a rebel retreat towards Ajdabiya. (Guardian)

MARCH 30: Human Rights Watch issued a statement from Benghazi asserting that pro-Qaddafi forces are laying landmines in their campaign to seize control of the country. The statement claimed that two dozen anti vehicle and three dozen anti personnel mines had been found in Ajdabiya after pro-Qaddafi forces held the town from March 17th to March 27th. (NY Times)

MARCH 30: Pro-Qaddafi forces made significant gains in the past 24 hours, reportedly pushing rebels out of Ras Lanuf and forcing a large scale retreat from the town of Brega. (NY Times)

MARCH 29: According to one report, Qaddafi evidently places a majority of his trust in two of his militias, a combined total of 10,000 men, out of his 50,000 man army. The two militias are the 32nd Brigade, loyal to his son Khamis, and the 9th Regiment which is under the command of another son and National Security Advisor, Mutassim. (NY Times)

MARCH 29: Eman al-Obaidi, the Libyan woman who has accused pro-Qaddafi forces of raping her, had a slander suit filed against her. Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim acknowledged the suit, adding that one of the accused is the son of a high ranking Libyan official. Conflicting stories about al-Obaidi’s whereabouts continue to circulate. The Libyan government claimed she has been reunited with her family, but her parents have said they do not know where she is. (Washington Post)

MARCH 29: Pro-Qaddafi forces outside of Sirte, backed by tanks and rockets, reportedly forced rebel forces out of Bin Jawad and back towards the eastern port of Ras Lanuf amid a lull in coalition airstrikes. (Washington Post)

MARCH 29: A rebel spokesman in Misrata, Sami, reported renewed efforts by pro-Qaddafi forces to enter the city through the western and eastern gates. Sami stated the “youths repelled them [at the western gate],” but fighting was still happening at the eastern gate. A Libyan doctor living in Britain, saying he is contact with Misrata residents, described reports that pro-Qaddafi forces are “shelling residential areas with tanks and mortars.” (Reuters Africa)

MARCH 29: Hundreds of trucks and cars carrying pro-Qaddafi fighters were ferried to Sirte to reinforce the city. (NY Times)

MARCH 29: US warplanes struck three Libyan naval vessels stationed off the western port of Misrata. A patrol boat identified as the Vitorria was forced to beach. The US Navy reported one of the other vessels sank and the third was hit. (NY Times)

MARCH 29: The mother of Eman al-Obaidi, the young woman who has accused pro-Qaddafi soldiers of raping her, claimed a Qaddafi representative contacted her with the offer of her daughter’s release if al-Obaidi changed her story. Aishad Ahmad, her mother, instructed her daughter to “keep silent.” The Libyan government said that al-Obaidi was released on Sunday and reunited with her family. (Reuters)

MARCH 28: Amnesty International said it has compiled 30 cases of disappearances of political activists and suspected pro- rebel supporters. Malcolm Smart, the group’s director of the Middle East and North Africa, stated “it appears that there is a systematic policy to detain anyone suspected of opposition to Colonel Qaddafi’s rule, hold them incommunicado, and transfer them to his strongholds in western Libya.” (Reuters)

MARCH 28: Amnesty International said it has compiled 30 cases of disappearances of political activists and suspected pro- rebel supporters. Malcolm Smart, the group’s director of the Middle East and North Africa, stated “it appears that there is a systematic policy to detain anyone suspected of opposition to Colonel Qaddafi’s rule, hold them incommunicado, and transfer them to his strongholds in western Libya.” (Reuters)

MARCH 28: According to reports, Libya's Foreign Ministry declared a cease-fire in Misrata. The ministry was quoted as saying that, “anti-terrorism units have stopped firing at the armed terrorist groups that have been terrorizing. The city of Misrata now enjoys security and tranquility and public services have started to recover their ability to provide customary services to all citizens. The Foreign Ministry thus emphasises Libya's commitment to the cease-fire: it stands." (Reuters Africa)

MARCH 28: Opposition forces reached a point twenty miles east of Sirte, when Qaddafi forces raised a white flag. CNN reports that when rebel forces approached the group, government forces opened fired on them, killing an unspecified number of rebel fighters and injuring others. (CNN)

MARCH 27: Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim made a statement charging that, "The rebels are making their advance and no one is stopping them. And no one is even talking to them or saying, 'Where are you going?' or 'Why are you taking offensive positions and attacking the Libyan army and Libyan cities?'” Ibrahim stated that NATO was "starving the Libyan population to get Libya on its knees to beg for mercy." (UPI)

MARCH 27: A Libyan woman, Eman al-Obeidy, entered a hotel full of foreign journalists to state that she had been kidnapped at a checkpoint in Tripoli and raped by militia members working for Qaddafi. A Libyan government spokesman denied the accusations, calling her a prostitute and a thief. (New York Times)

MARCH 26: A Libyan government spokesman, Mussa Ibrahim, told reporters that Qaddafi was still directing his armed forces, though did not allude to where Qaddafi was operating from. Ibrahim stated that, "He is leading the battle. He is leading the nation forward from anywhere in the country. He has many offices, many places around Libya. I assure you he is leading the nation at this very moment and he is in continuous communication with everyone around the country." (Reuters)

MARCH 26: Pro-Qaddafi forces retreated from the strategic city of Ajdabiya after rebel forces drove them back dozens of miles down the coast. At a news conference, Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Kaim affirmed that government forces had made a “tactical pullback.” Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim stated that even though pro-Qaddafi forces had pulled back, “we are still very strong on the ground.” (New York Times, Washington Post)

MARCH 26: A rebel spokesman identified as Mohammed reported that pro-Qaddafi troops continued to assault rebel forces in Misrata, where Libyan tanks assaulted areas of the city center. He said that government forces took control of the main street in the city and established sniper positions in high buildings. (Washington Post)

MARCH 25: After rebel forces entered the town of Ajdabiya from the east, pro-Qaddafi fighters were pushed to the west of the city. Government forces were captured in the fighting, which lasted throughout the day on Friday. (Al Jazeera)

MARCH 25: Libyan state television reported that Qaddafi has decided to promote all members of his armed forces. A written announcement stated that, "(The) brother leader of the revolution has issued a decision to promote all members of the armed people who are currently drafted in his various military units for their heroic and courageous fight against the crusader, colonialist assault. The promotion includes all members of the general security and police." (Reuters)

MARCH 25: At an African Union meeting in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, Libyan government official Mohammed al-Zwai said that Tripoli is ready to abide by an AU roadmap to resolve the crisis. The AU roadmap declares that all hostilities must cease and there must be "cooperation on the part of the relevant Libyan authorities to facilitate humanitarian aid," and "protection for all foreign nationals, including African migrant workers." Al-Zwai also demanded "the cessation of the air bombardment and the naval blockade carried out by Western forces and the United States." Rebel forces were not present at the meeting. (Al Jazeera)

MARCH 25: Qaddafi forces have retaliated against coalition air-strikes on the outskirts of Tripoli with anti-aircraft fire. Anti-aircraft fire reportedly burst out but then fell silent. (CNN)

MARCH 25: Reuters reported that three explosions have been observed outside of the eastern entrance to Ajdabiya. At the time of the explosion, pro-Qaddafi forces had been firing artillery shells to hold-off an advance by the opposition movement. (Reuters)

MARCH 25: In Misrata, rebel sources have reported that regime military forces surrounding the city seem to have pulled back due to airstrikes blocking their communication and supply lines. Khalid Kaim, the deputy foreign minister, denied that the opposition movement had made battle gains. (New York Times)

MARCH 25: Moussa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, pleaded with international forces to spare communication infrastructure within the country. He said, "Communications, whether by phones or other uses, are civilian and for the good of the Libyan nation to help us provide information, knowledge and coordinate everyday life. If these civilian targets are hit, it will make life harder for millions of civilians around Libya.” (NPR)

MARCH 25: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has stated that representatives of Qaddafi's government and the Libyan opposition will be attending an African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday, on Libya. The U.N. chief said his special envoy to Libya, former Jordanian foreign minister Abdelilah Al-Khatib, as well as representatives of relevant countries and regional organizations will also attend in hopes of reaching a cease-fire and political solution in the North African country. Five African heads of state will repotedly be in attendance. (ABC, AP)

MARCH 24: AFRICOM Commander Gen. Ham reported that pro-Qaddafi forces are making advances in Misrata, with his men dressing as civilians. (ABC)

MARCH 24: Mussa Ibrahim, a spokesperson for the Qaddafi regime, has claimed that at least 100 civilians have been killed by air strikes since the bombing campaign began. However, Ibrahim added that the Ministry of Health had yet to make exact figures public. (Telegraph)

MARCH 24: Pro-Qaddafi forces shelled areas in Ajdabiya where they control the northern and western entries into the city. Ajdabiya is an oil town 100 miles south of opposition-held Bengazi. (CNN)

MARCH 24: A Libyan G-2/Galeb trainer aircraft attempted to fly near Misrata before being destroyed by French fighter jets enforcing a no-fly zone. (AP)

MARCH 24: Pro-Qaddafi forces have between 30-50 tanks positioned outside of Zintan, 90 miles southwest of Tripoli, where fighting has receded in recent days according to local journalists and rebels. (Reuters)

MARCH 24: Libya’s deputy foreign minister claimed that the shut-off of water and electricity into Misrata was “just a technical problem due to damage and looting.” (Financial Times)

MARCH 24: Qaddafi’s foreign ministry confirmed that a military compound at Juffra had been the recent target of airstrikes. (AP)

MARCH 23: Tanks controlled by Col. Qaddafi’s forces re-entered Misrata in the evening after having pulled back amidst coalition airstrikes, according to local witnesses. The forces shelled areas around the main hospital in Misrata. (BBC, Financial Times)

MARCH 22: Pro-Qaddafi forces shelled areas outside of Ajdabiya, 100 miles south of opposition-held Benghazi. (The Guardian)

MARCH 21: Col. Muammar Qaddafi vowed to maintain his position and declared his readiness to fight “a long, drawn-out war with no limits” against coalition forces. (AFP)

MARCH 18: Pro-Qaddafi forces shelled Misrata, 103 miles east of Tripoli, at 0700 local time after entering the city with T-72 and T-55 tanks. A witness reported that the forces possessed around 40 tanks and assaulted the city for several hours before retreating. (Reuters)

MARCH 18: Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa announced that “Libya has decided an immediate ceasefire and an immediate halt to all military operations.” (BBC)

MARCH 17: Forces loyal to Qaddafi moved towards the oil town of Zueitina, 180 miles south of Benghazi. Libyan state television claimed loyalist forces captured Zueitina, a claim rebel spokesmen denied. (Reuters)

MARCH 16: Qaddafi loyalist began attacking the town of Zintan, 75 miles southwest of Tripoli. Witnesses reported sustained shelling from tanks and rockets outside of the city. A column of 15 tanks were spotted north of the town, while 40 army vehicles approached from the south according to some residents. (AFP)

MARCH 15: Pro-Qaddafi forces advanced into Ajdabiya, launching strikes against rebel fighters. Libyan air force jets struck targets in Ajdabiya and along the road to Brega. A local resident said Libyan helicopters dropped leaflets calling for residents to support Qaddafi in return for amnesty. (Bloomberg)

MARCH 15: Pro-Qaddafi forces re-captured the oil port town of Brega. A rebel said “We have lost Brega completely. We could not face Gaddafi’s forces.” (Reuters)

MARCH 14: Pro-Qaddafi forces launched counter-offensives against the towns of Zuwara and Ajdabiyah. Pro-Qaddafi tanks rolled into Zuwara’s town center, 68 miles west of Tripoli, as rebels fled the town. Libyan jets launched airstrikes against rebel forces in Ajdabiyah. (Reuters, Haaretz)

MARCH 14: Unconfirmed reports from residents and activists in Misrata indicated that Libya’s elite Khamis Brigade clashed with soldiers from the local Hamza Brigade after several dozen soldiers defected. The clashes apparently took place within a Libyan army base. (Telegraph)

MARCH 13: Pro-Qaddafi forces captured the oil town of Brega in the early hours of the morning. However, rebels claimed they had retaken the town later that night: “Tonight [Brega] is back in the hands of the revolutionaries, but they will probably come back tomorrow with big machines, bomb it and take it back again,” a rebel fighter said. (Reuters)

MARCH 11: Pro-Qaddafi forces launched air and amphibious strikes against the oil town of Ras Lanuf. A pro-Qaddafi force of roughly 150 men and three tanks moved in by land while a naval force of 40 to 50 men in three boats landed near the town, according to local rebel fighters. (Reuters)

MARCH 10: Pro-Qaddafi forces re-took the town of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, after several days of shelling and airstrikes. (BBC)

MARCH 7: Pro-Qaddafi forces captured the town of Bin Jawad, 30 miles from Ras Lanuf. (BBC)

MARCH 5: Pro-Qaddafi forces attempted to assault Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, at 0600 local time with “heavy forces, hundreds of soldiers with tanks” but faced resistance according to rebel fighters. (Reuters)

Authored by Henry Ensher, Alex Della Rocchetta, Reza Jan, Maseh Zarif

MARCH 30: The White House has reported that it is considering options for “all types of assistance” to opposition forces in Libya. The U.S. director of national intelligence, James Clapper, additionally compared the rebel forces to a “pickup basketball team.” Despite the rebels’ pleading for arms, no decision has been made on whether the U.S. will provide weapons assistance. (Associated Press)

MARCH 30: Opposition forces in Derna reported that rebel fighters have been pushed further back towards Ajdabiya. (Wall Street Journal)

MARCH 30: The New York Times reports that CIA operatives have been inserted into Libya to make contacts with the rebels as well as to gather intelligence for coalition air strikes. The media outlet states that, “By meeting with rebel groups, the Americans hope to fill in gaps in understanding who the leaders are of the groups opposed Colonel Qaddafi, and what their allegiances are.” (New York Times)

MARCH 30: Under intense shelling and missile attacks, rebel forces abandoned the oil town of Ras Lanuf on Wednesday, continuing to flee eastward towards Brega and then further to Ajdabiya. A spokesman for the opposition forces, Col. Ahmad Omar Bani, admitted that rebel fighters had “dissolved like snow in the sand,” in Bin Jawad and Ras Lanuf, though he called the retreat a “tactical withdrawal.” He said that rebel forces are still engaged in fighting to the east and the west of Brega. (New York Times)

MARCH 30: A U.S. military official has confirmed U.S. intelligence agencies’ suspicions of "flickers of an al Qaeda presence among Libyan opposition fighters.” In a Senate hearing Tuesday, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, stated that there may also exist rebel links to Hezbollah. Stavridis said that the U.S. military has commenced an investigation into the dynamics and make-up of the Libyan opposition. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton furthermore said that the “U.S. is still getting to know the rebels.” A former jihadist, Noman Benotman, has also alluded to “freelance jihadists” operating under the control of the interim national council. (Wall Street Journal, Washington Times)

MARCH 30: Libyan rebels have claimed that condoms and Viagra found on pro-Qaddafi forces are proof of a “campaign of rape waged by the Libyan dictator to terrorize male and female opponents.” Doctors speaking under conditions of anonymity have reported rape victims telling hospital personnel that they had been attacked by the regime’s soldiers. (Washington Times)

MARCH 29: Misrata continued to see clashes between rebel and pro-Qaddafi forces. British Foreign Secretary William Hague reported that, "Regime forces have intensified their attacks, driving back opposition forces from ground they had taken in recent days. Misrata also came under heavy attack yesterday, with further loss of civilian life, including children, from mortars, sniper fire and attacks on all sides from regime tanks and personnel carriers." An official for the Transitional National Council affirmed that, “The front line is fluid right now." (CNN)

MARCH 29: Rebels have retreated from Bin Jawad in an attempt to dodge rocket fire by pro-Qaddafi forces. The Los Angeles Times reports that at one point, rebels surrendered seventy miles in just four hours. Many of the rebels fled to Ras Lanuf before retreating further eastward. (Los Angeles Times)

MARCH 29: Ahead of the London Conference on Libya, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the de facto prime minister of the Libyan Transitional National Council, Mahmoud Jibril, in their second meeting in a little more than a week. A senior U.S. official stated that the meeting aimed to give Secretary Clinton a better perspective on how a post-Qaddafi government may function. Jibril also met with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague to discuss “priorities for international assistance.” (Wall Street Journal)

MARCH 29: The Libyan Transitional National Council issued a plea for arms at the London Conference on Libya, held on Tuesday. Mahmoud Shammam, the council's head of media, stated that, "We asked everybody to help us in many ways. One of them is giving our youth some real weapons. If you look to the reports that you have from the streets of Libya or from the cities of Libya you will see that our people have very light arms. You can see that just regular cars are fighting with machine guns. We don't have arms at all, otherwise we finish Gaddafi in a few days. But we don't have arms. We ask for the political support more than we are asking for the arms. But if we get both that would be great." Secretary of State Clinton responded that no decision had been made about arming the rebels, though President Obama has said he has not ruled out the possibility. (BBC, Guardian)

MARCH 29: Government forces continued to block the rebel forces’ westward advance to Sirte. Rebel fighters were repelled east by missile and rocket fire from pro-Qaddafi troops, before retreating to the city of Bin Jawad. The city has seen intense fighting, with one BBC correspondent reporting that the town is no longer controlled by the rebels. It was reported that hundreds of cars have fled east from the town to Ras Lanuf. (BBC, New York Times, Reuters)

MARCH 28: Rebel forces in Benghazi said that they had struck an oil deal with Qatar and have produced about 100,000 barrels of petroleum a day from fields under their control. However, a large buyer of oil products in Europe has declared that, “I am not sure anyone in the oil industry is quite willing to touch it. It’s going to be very difficult to get things going.” The rebels had previously captured all five eastern oil export terminals, which make up two-thirds of Libya’s export capacity. Opposition forces declared that they were in “active discussions” to have sanctions lifted on purchases of crude oil produced in fields under rebel control. (Washington Post, Reuters)

MARCH 28: Fierce fighting continued in Misrata, where a temporary government administration loyal to the opposition's transitional government in Benghazi has been established. However, a resident of Misrata has said that Qaddafi’s forces still possess a presence on Tripoli Street and guard the entrances to the city. (LA Times)

MARCH 28: After opposition forces reached a point forty-five miles outside of Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, their westward advancement was halted by artillery fire from government forces outside the city. (New York Times)

MARCH 28: Qatar became the second nation, following France, to recognize the Provisional Transitional National Council (PTNC) as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Libyan people. At present, the PTNC is a group of 31 members representing the country’s major cities and towns. Of the 31 members, only 13 names have been publicly revealed as many members reside in areas still controlled by Qaddafi. (Sydney Morning Herald)

MARCH 28: Libyan state television showed images of wounded men and women in a hospital as well as damaged buildings in Sabha. The station stated that civilians were wounded when bombs struck the city early Monday morning. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had previously defended that, "The truth of the matter is we have trouble coming up with proof of any civilian casualties that we have been responsible for. But we do have a lot of intelligence reporting about [Qaddafi] taking the bodies of the people he's killed and putting them at the sites where we've attacked." (CNN)

MARCH 28: Fighting has continued in Nawfaliya, about 110 miles east of Sirte. Opposition forces reported that they had reached a heavily mined road in the area and have been shelled by pro-Qaddafi fighters. (Al Jazeera)

MARCH 28: Opposition forces engaged in clashes with pro-Qaddafi troops sixty miles east of Sirte. General Hamdi Hassi, an opposition commander, declared that, “Sirte will not be easy to take. Now, because of NATO strikes on [the government's] heavy weapons, we're almost fighting with the same weapons." According to Al Jazeera, the opposition's National Council said that it anticipates major clashes to take place in the area around Tripoli, as opposed to Sirte. (Al Jazeera)

MARCH 28: Libya’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Abdel Rahman Shalgham, claimed that rebel forces have seized Sirte, the hometown of Qaddafi. However, the pronouncement could not be independently verified. (New York Times, UPI)

MARCH 27: Fresh fighting broke out in rebel-held Misrata, where rebels acknowledged that pro-Qaddafi forces had regained ground in areas of the city after days of clashes. A rebel spokesperson admitted, “Part of the city is under rebel control and the other part is under the control of forces loyal to Gaddafi." A local doctor in the city reported that nine people were killed overnight by government snipers and shelling; while a resident stated that twenty four people were injured in mortar attacks by pro-Qaddafi forces. (Al Jazeera)

MARCH 27: After retaking Ajdabiya, rebel forces continued west to Brega, the oil terminal of Ras Lanuf, and the coastal town of Bin Jawad, capturing all three in a move towards Tripoli. The rebels also claimed to possess control of Uqayla on the Mediterranean coast. Faraj Sheydani, a rebel fighter, said that, “There wasn’t resistance. There was no one in front of us. There’s no fighting.’’ (New York Times, Telegraph, Washington Post, Washington Times)

MARCH 26: Rebel forces retook Ajdabiya, causing pro-Qaddafi forces to retreat for dozens of miles back along the coast. (New York Times)

MARCH 25: Sky News reports that the U.S. has considered the legality of providing a limited supply of weapons to opposition forces. The media outlet reports that, “One of the unintended consequences of United Nations Resolution 1970 was to starve the rebels of the weapons they would need to take on Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. It requires all UN members to ‘immediately take the necessary measures’ to prevent the supply or sale of weapons to the Libyan government - with no exemption for anti-Gaddafi forces.” However, Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Susan Rice, stated that "Resolutions 1970 and 1973, read together, neither specify nor preclude such an action." (Sky News)

MARCH 25: A spokesperson for the opposition forces, former Libyan Air Force Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani, has pleaded for more weapons and armaments. He declared, "We are facing cannons, T-72 and T-92 tanks, so what do we need? We need anti-tank weapons, things like that. We are preparing our army now. Before there was no army, from now there is an idea to prepare a new army with new armaments and new morals. We've talked with our friends around the world and told them we need help. Not troops or advisers — air strikes are enough. ...Our only foreign expert is Google Earth." Opposition fighters said they had already requested weapons from various countries, but did not specify which countries they had appealed to. (NPR)

MARCH 25: Opposition forces massed for an attack on the town of Ajdabiya, where they fired artillery at pro-Qaddafi forces. Rebels surrounding Ajdabiya appeared to have set up road blocks on the road leading into the strategically important town. Reuters reports that the rebels additionally possess heavier weaponry than had been seen earlier this week. A spokesman for opposition forces, Mustafa Gheriani , said he expected Ajdabiya to be in rebel control on Friday or Saturday, following overnight British and French air strikes. (Reuters)

MARCH 25: 2,000 worshippers attended Friday prayers outside the rebel headquarters in Benghazi. The imam leading the prayers called for unity with inhabitants of cities engaged in fighting in western Libya, thanked the international coalition for intervening, and declared that the opposition movement would triumph. He affirmed, "The new Libya must be democratic. We do not need a new Gaddafi.” (Reuters)

MARCH 24: A rebel spokesperson, Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani, said that opposition forces in Misrata and Zintan had killed an estimated 120 government soldiers during battles on Thursday. (Telegraph)

MARCH 24: Rebel spokesperson Col. Ahmed Omar Bani, reported that forces loyal to Qaddafi have been in negotiations to surrender. In a news conference, Bani stated, “Some of the Ajdabiya militias have asked to surrender to be left alone and to go back home. We are trying to negotiate with these people in Ajdabiya because we are almost sure that they have lost contact with their headquarters." Colonel Bani said that the opposition forces have been talking to government troops through an imam in Ajdabiya, who has been serving as a mediator. (Telegraph)

MARCH 24: A chief spokesperson for the opposition has declared that rebel forces are detaining anyone suspected of serving or supporting the Qaddafi regime. Abdelhafed Ghoga, the chief opposition spokesman, referred to the supporters as "people with bloodstained hands" and "enemies of the revolution." Ghoga warned that any Qaddafi loyalist who does not surrender will face “revolutionary justice.” (LA Times)

MARCH 24: Leaders of the Transitional National Council have declared that they have assisted allied military commanders in Europe in identifying targets for the U.S.-led air assault. Rebel spokesman Ahmed Khalifa stated that, "There is communication between the Provisional National Council and U.N. assembled forces, and we work on letting them know what areas need to be bombarded." Another rebel spokesman, Mustafa Gheriani, affirmed that, "We tell them of urgent situations in areas where we need help to protect civilians being attacked by the regime's forces." (LA Times)

MARCH 24: A local resident of Misrata said pro-Qaddafi snipers firing indiscriminately are the “major problem” in the city. “Gaddafi’s forces have occupied the main street…which stretches from the town centre all the way to the highway and beyond. There are snipers all along the rooftops of that street,” the resident added. (BBC)

MARCH 23: The head of the opposition’s “Feb 17 Martyrs Training Camp” Fawzi Buktif said his forces need military training and assistance from the West. Buktif told reporters “We need Kalashnikovs, stingers, anti-tanks, all types of anti-tanks” in order to push back against forces loyal to Qaddafi towards Tripoli and Sirte. Buktif added that the rebels could fund military assistance purchases through the oil wealth in the eastern part of Libya.(Reuters)

MARCH 23: Former interior minister and current opposition forces leader General Abdul Fatah Younis said rebels in Misrata requested weapons from unnamed countries. Younis added “Misrata is destroyed and they need weapons. We try to send them weapons, but of course they were all light weapons. There were no heavy weapons.” (CNN)

MARCH 23: Transitional National Council spokesman Iman Bughaeus announced that Washington University assistant professor of finance Ali Tarhouni has been named the head of the opposition’s financial committee. Tarhouni received a doctorate from Michigan State University in 1983 and specializes in macroeconomics. (Reuters, University of Washington)

MARCH 23: The Transitional National Council announced the formation of an interim government with Mahmoud Jibril as its prime minister. Jibril previously served as the opposition’s foreign representative and met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on March 14 in Paris. (Al Jazeera, NYT)

MARCH 22: The Transitional National Council said in a statement that it has established the Libyan Oil Company based in Benghazi to oversee oil production and policies and the Central Bank of Benghazi to oversee monetary policies. (Bloomberg)

MARCH 19: Head of the British-Libyan Solidarity Campaign Azeldin al Sharif said rebels mistakenly brought down a rebel fighter jet. (Reuters)

MARCH 18: Rebels assaulted Libyan military positions near the western town of Nalut, which is 35 miles from the Tunisian border. A rebel fighter reported 18 pro-Qaddafi soldiers were captured while the rebels suffered one casualty. (Reuters)

MARCH 17: Rebels fought to hold Ajdabiya, 100 miles south of Benghazi, as pro-Qaddafi forces heavily shelled the city. A witness reported that rebel forces pushed out pro-Qaddafi forces from the city’s southern gate and continued to hold the western gate. Rebel aircraft were used to drive pro-Qaddafi forces from the western gate, marking the first time rebels have used air power. (USA Today)

MARCH 17: Members of the Warfalla and Tarhuna tribes held anti-Qaddafi rallies in Benghazi in a rebuke of Libyan state television reports indicating that they had backed Qaddafi. (CSM)

MARCH 17: Rebel forces surrounded pro-Qaddafi forces in the town of Zueitina, 180 miles south of Benghazi, and continued to resist pro-Qaddafi advances from the outskirts of Benghazi. (Reuters)

MARCH 12: Rebels retreated from the oil town of Ras Lanuf, and moved farther east towards the town of Uqaylah. Opposition Col. Bashir Abdul Qadir told reporters that his forces were forced three kilometers out of Ras Lanuf by bombardments. (Reuters)

MARCH 9: Rebels remained under siege in the town of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, from shelling and sniper fire from pro-Qaddafi forces. A rebel leader claimed his fighters were in the main square in Zawiya. (NYT)

MARCH 7: Rebels forces were pushed back from their advance to take Qaddafi’s hometown of Surt by ground and airstrikes. They retreated eastwards to Ras Lanuf, 27 miles away from their original position. (LAT)

MARCH 6: Rebel forces in Misrata repelled an assault by pro-Qaddafi forces. One resident reported that rebel forces had captured 20 soldiers and one tank. He added “They came from three sides and managed to enter the town from the west and south but when they reached the center of Misrata the rebels pushed them back.” (Reuters).

MARCH 5: Rebels took the town of Bin Jawad, roughly 93 miles from Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. (BBC)

MARCH 5: The opposition Interim Transitional National Council held its first meeting in Benghazi. The council said in a statement that “it is the sole representative of all Libya with its different social and political strata and all its geographical sections.” Mustafa Abdeljeleel oversees the council and hosted representatives from Batnan, Darna, Qouba, Benghazi, and specific groups including political prisoners and youth and women. (Interim Transitional National Council)

© 2007-2011 The Institute for the Study of War

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