Five Months In, Gadhafi Stymies NATO, Rebels

BY Mike Fritz  July 19, 2011 at 12:25 PM EDT


It’s been more than five months since the Arab Spring first swept into Libya, shaking Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year grip on power and spawning a deadly civil war that has killed up to 15,000 people, according to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The NewsHour takes a look back at some of the pivotal events that have led to this moment — from the protests first breaking out in Tripoli to the U.N. Security Council vote that established a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace and President Obama’s address to the nation that detailed U.S. involvement in the crisis.

Last Friday, the United States joined more than 30 countries in formally recognizing the main opposition group, known as the Transitional National Council, as the legitimate government of Libya. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the decision during a diplomatic meeting in Istanbul. The move will unfreeze $30 billion in assets taken from the Gadhafi regime and could then be given to the opposition.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. and Libyan officials secretly met over the weekend, and that the State Department said the meeting was held to “deliver a clear and firm message that the only way to move forward is for Gadhafi to step down.”

Yet what remains unclear is how long the NATO-led air campaign against Gadhafi’s forces, now entering their fifth month, will continue — and if the increase in funding will help bolster a rebel offensive that has been marked by inconsistent gains and an inability to organize itself into one coherent voice.

Also, watch the interview Gadhafi gave to the NewsHour’s Robert MacNeil in 1985.