What’s with Nancy Youssef’s overly pessimisticreport about the Libyan intervention on NPR’s On Point today? During her appearance, wherein she was nominally supposed to update listeners on the status of the Libyan intervention 100 days on:
Youssef: The rebels are trying to hold on to the ground they’ve gained. Interestingly they have less ground than they did a hundred days ago . . . .
Gjelten: The rebels have less ground, they’re actually losing ground? I thought the rebels have been making a little bit of progrees.
Youssef: They have. But if you look at how much land they hand—especially in the east—from, compared to where they were when this began. Remember, they had all the way to Bin Jawad when this began and now they’re not able to take Brega which is about a 100 kilometers east of Bin Jawad . . . .
After challenging her once, Gjelten allows this assertion to go. But Ms. Youssef is flatly mistaken. The Libyan rebels had pushed to Bin Jawad on March 6, 2011—some two weeks before the Libyan intervention began. The rebels were quickly pushed out of Bin Jawad and by March 7, Qaddafi’s forces had reestablished control over Bin Jawad. At that point, Qaddafi’s counteroffensive against the rebels was in full swing and, between then and March 19, 2011, his forces moved east all the way to Benghazi, where Qaddafi’stanks were stopped in their tracks by NATO airstrikes. Subsequent NATO air support for the rebels have allowed Libya’s rebels to push Qaddafi’s forces back to Brega and fight Qaddafi to a stalemate in the east while—as Youssef admits—gaining ground in the west. Notably, rebels did advance all the way back toBin Jawad on March 27—some 8 days after the intervention began—but were pushed back to Brega.
Despite Ms. Youssef’s flawed report, it is clear, as this blog has repeatedly noted, that the Libyan rebels are making slow and steady progress to liberate their country.