Tuesday, September 6, 2016

RT news crew in Libya documents the final battle against ISIS in Sirte

A quick post this morning about the above video. RT has a film crew documenting the battle of Sirte in Libya. Sirte was the stronghold for ISIS in Libya for most of the war and they are now on their last legs in the city. Most of the city has been liberated and now only pockets of resistance remain. The ISIS fighters, somewhat unbelievably, asked the Libyans for free passage out of Sirte, which was of course denied. ISIS is trapped between government forces in the city and Libyan gunships in the Mediterranean Sea.

It's a very bad situation as the above video shows. If you can't watch it or it gets removed, I will summarize it for you. The reporter comes up to the front lines and comes under fire from ISIS fighters while crossing a street. They then meet up with the main Libyan force, engaged with the enemy. At least two car bombs explode and a mortar round hits the building that they are in. Libyan fighters are shown shooting an RPG at ISIS and firing with heavy machine guns, both mounted on trucks and from the hip.

Though I have seen some very impressive combat footage, rarely is it from the press itself. The reporter, William Whitman and his crew were right on the front lines here, and it was very brave to say the least. Especially since ISIS likes to murder members of the press when they get their hands on them. Say what you want about the accuracy and bias of RT, but you have to admit that they get their people to some crazy locations and events. And the guys in this video are risking their lives to get this video out to the rest of the world. For that I am thankful.

A photo posted by William Whiteman (@willmwhiteman) on

As for the Libyans, the whole affair seemed rather slapdash. In any of the shots I saw, it was mostly just a couple of guys shooting while the rest of them were standing around yelling. And the ones that were shooting were firing from the hip. That's kind of excusable for the guys firing the heavy machine guns, but there is no reason for the riflemen to do the same thing. Still, I have seen more disorganized attacks. It's about par for the course in that part of the world

ISIS seems to be on their last legs in Libya. It's pretty clear that the holdouts in Sirte are doomed. They don't seem to be ready to surrender and they are outgunned and outnumbered by the Libyan military. Not only have the Libyans deployed their heavy armor, tanks and APC's, their Navy is getting involved with gunship patrols. There doesn't seem to be any escape for these ISIS fighters and pretty soon they will be purged from Sirte for good. I am not sure that end means complete destruction or some kind of surrender, but either way the writing is on the wall.

Which brings something else up. If ISIS does surrender in Sirte, what the hell does the Libyan government do with them? ISIS fighters have all committed crimes and are probably not worth the effort to reform. And if you put them in prison, you risk having them radicalize the other prisoners and collecting potential recruits if they ever get out of jail. You can't just execute them either, as practical as it would be, because I think even for ISIS people would be upset with that. It's a difficult question for sure, and one that I think will be answered soon, one way or the other...

No comments:

Post a Comment