Revolutionary forces in Libya hold almost the entire east of the country, with Benghazi as their main stronghold and the birthplace of the revolution. But if they’re to liberate the entire country, they need to winkle Gadaffi out of the west, and out of Tripoli in particular.
That’s a formidable task, as according to reliable reports, Gadaffi still holds Tripoli in an iron fist, ringing it with tanks and filling it with his most elite and most loyal forces, such as the Khamis brigade, along with plenty of mercenaries. He has most of the good stuff - the heavy weapons, APCs and air capability, and while the Revolutionaries have also captured some heavy weapons and reportedly a few tanks themselves, they are for the most part lightly armed and outgunned by the Loyalist troops.
What the revolutionaries do have, however, is overwhelming motivation and force of numbers. These are the people who took on snipers with stones and won. These are the people who stormed a fortified internal security compound in Benghazi against heavy fire and at significant loss of life, finally succeeding when one man rammed a car full of high explosives into the front gates in a suicide attack.
Needless to say, their sheer determination and bravery is not at question. But they have serious practical concerns to face if they’re to see this through and win. It seems to me that before they take Tripoli, they must take Sirte, as it is a Loyalist stronghold that’s plunked squarely in the middle of the path to Tripoli. They can’t simply leap-frog past it.
So my question to all you armchair generals out there is - what is the best way for the Revolutionaries to take and hold Sirte, and from there, take Tripoli?