The Anti-Qaddafi Autonomous Zone


The Guardian's Martin Chulov reports from Libya:

Opposition activists are increasing the pressure on Muammar Gaddafi's ailing regime, shutting down oil exports and mobilising rebel groups in the west of the country as the revolution rapidly spreads.

Gaddafi's hold on power appears confined to parts of Tripoli and perhaps several regions in the centre of the country. Towns to the west of the capital have fallen and all of eastern Libya is firmly in opposition hands.

In Benghazi, the country's second city, basic order is returning to the streets after days of fierce fighting that resulted in the military defecting en masse. Virtually all government buildings were looted and wrecked.

There are long lines outside closed banks as people try to resume normal life. Cars have returned to city streets but almost all shops remain closed and the internet is blocked.

Benghazi is now being run by a makeshift organising committee of judges, lawyers and other professionals who have sent out young people to direct traffic and restore basic order….

All southern oilfields are in rebel control. Moustafa Raba'a, a mechanical engineer with the Sirte oil company, said pressure had been put on field and refinery managers to stop work and protect all foreign nationals working with them….He said the blockade had prevented 80,000 barrels a day being exported from the Dregga field alone.

Whole thing here. Another dispatch from rebel-controlled territory is here.