How Libya's "Rebel Rabble" and NATO succeeded
LONDON - Libya's rebels began as an ill-equipped, poorly trained amateur force. But they got a huge boost from those NATO air strikes and surveillance. CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports on what went right for the rebels.
The big question after the rebels' shockingly quick advance of the past days is how did something that started so badly end up going so well.
In the war's early stages, the "Rebel Rabble" earned their nickname by charging forward to take ground they would quickly lose through bad organization and bad weapons.
NATO's entry into the conflict may have taken out Muammar Qaddafi's armored units and control centers. But in close fighting, the rebels still couldn't call in the airstrikes they needed.Tripoli dangerous as Qaddafi hides
Qaddafi believed hiding inside Libya, U.S. says
Obama: Qaddafi can reduce bloodshed
"What's lacking?" Phillips asked Ahmed Shebani, a member of the opposition, just last month.
"Lacking is precision NATO strikes," he said
Shebani complained he'd have to email someone in Benghazi to call in NATO planes, which then arrived too late.
"It gets difficult to seek and destroy when [Qaddafi's forces are] moving in twos, hiding under trees camouflaged," he said.
In the advance on Tripoli, the problem seems to have been solved by removing the middleman, using U.S. drones to provide real-time intelligence and even using covert NATO special forces to call in airstrikes.
There were 68 NATO attacks on targets in Tripoli alone during the weekend.
The United Nations' mandate was to protect civilians, but NATO's mission creep in Libya became obvious even in the early stages of the conflict when some of Britain's special forces were captured near Benghazi. The longer the conflict dragged on, the greater the involvement of the Western powers became.
NATO says its commitment to "protect civilians" will continue through the war's end and possibly into the uncertainty of whatever follows.
- Okla. tornado survivor finds dog buried alive under rubble
- Man killed in brutal London attack
- Storm spotter: Oklahoma tornado "a nightmare"
- CBS News goes undercover in a Bangladesh clothing factory
- Oklahoma miracle baby -- born amidst tornado chaos
- Parents ask why Okla. schools don't have tornado shelters
- 5/22: Residents return to tornado-ravaged neighborhoods; Undercover in a Bangladesh clothing factory
- 5/23: Obama: The war on terror, "like all wars, must end"; baby born as tornado struck
- Injured third-grade teacher tells of trying to protect students
- Oklahoma family narrowly escaped death during tornado
- Teacher injured in Okla. tornado takes first steps
- 94-year-old opened storm shelter to neighbors as tornado approached
- Residents return to tornado-ravaged neighborhoods
- Oklahoma family tells amazing story of survival
- Injured Okla. teacher: "I wish I could have done more"
- Survivors pulled from Okla. school hit by tornado