Is this too simple? Is it too much to expect the Libyan opposition to entrust their lives to the discretion of Western commanders, even after the coalition has proved itself both willing and capable of rendering regime forces combat ineffective or inoperable?
Presumably NATO's inaction in the face of regime offensives against Misrata and Brega is a result of the rebels' military defense of those towns. It's hard to imagine that the unopposed shelling of civilians would be permitted by the coalition, while sensitivity about intervention in running battles of a civil war may be giving Western political and military leaders pause.
"The opposition" has proved itself largely incapable of protecting civilians, holding ground, or doing much more than harrassing regime forces as they advance or flooding into abandoned ground after coalition air assets loose that ground from the regime's grip. What do they have to lose?
UPDATE: Chris Chivers has more on the haplessness of the rebels' military organization, if such a thing can be said to exist.
But by almost all measures by which a military might be assessed, they are a hapless bunch. They have almost no communication equipment. There is no visible officer or noncommissioned officer corps. Their weapons are a mishmash of hastily acquired arms, which few of them know how to use.
With only weeks of fighting experience, they lack an understanding of the fundamentals of offensive and defensive combat, or how to organize fire support. They fire recklessly and sometimes accidentally. Most of them have yet to learn how to hold seized ground, or to protect themselves from their battlefield’s persistent rocket and mortar fire, which might be done by simply digging in.
Prone to panic, they often answer to little more than their mood, which changes in a flash. When their morale spikes upward, their attacks tend to be painfully and bloodily frontal — little more than racing columns down the highway, through a gantlet of the Qaddafi forces’ rocket and mortar fire, face forward into the loyalists’ machine guns.You also ought to be reading his blog, where he deals in greater detail with some of the opposition's armaments (including several outstanding and illustrative photos).