News / Africa

Libya's Former Rebels Pose Challenge

Libya's Former Rebels Pose Challengei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Al Pessin
July 17, 2012 4:40 PM
The fighters who defeated Libya's Moammar Gadhafi last year now pose a challenge for the fledgling democracy they helped create. Many of them have refused to give up their weapons, demanding a series of laws to protect them. VOA's Al Pessin spoke to a leading rebel commander.
Al Pessin
TRIPOLI — The fighters who defeated Libya's Moammar Gadhafi last year now pose a challenge for the fledgling democracy they helped create.  Many of them have refused to give up their weapons, demanding a series of laws to protect them.  

A year and a half ago, electrical engineer Omran Al-Awayeb took up arms to defend his neighborhood against Gadhafi forces.  

Now he commands a part-time band of rebels who are still worried about their country's future.

"Continue the revolution, this is our main job," he says. "We are afraid to make a bad country or a lazy government or go back to the old government or the old country."

Al-Awayeb leads a group of rebel commanders who feel that their uprising does not get the respect it deserves.

"This is our war," he says. "This is Libyan war. We should believe in this war, and take it as history for us because we got freedom from this war. But what I see now, the government is trying to forget this war. No, this is our war."

The commanders want Gadhafi supporters out of the Libyan government and Army and they want immunity for anything rebel troops did during last year’s eight-month uprising.

“When we caught some soldiers we were killing them," he says. "What can we do with them? We didn’t have a jail, didn’t have time to put them [anywhere]. They are our enemy. If that was wrong, our war was wrong.”

The commander says his group wants to work through politics, not violence. But nine months under an unelected interim government have been frustrating.

"The government is going slowly, so, so, so slowly," says Al-Awayeb. "So many things can happen."

It has been a hard and unexpected journey for Omran Al-Awayeb and his men. But lately they have been spending the long hot summer days in mundane pursuits on makeshift bases. And while they have not been involved in any violent incidents, he admits anger has grown. With a new, elected, government set to take office soon, the commander counsels a longer view.

"If we are going step by step, even if it's slowly, that's OK," he says. "But if we stop or go back, that's a problem."

Commander Al-Awayeb says most rebels want to lay down their arms or join the army, but only after their key demands are met, and only after they are sure the country is on a solid path toward democracy.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Henrieta Mary from: UK
July 18, 2012 9:51 AM
what a surprise...!!! well, we should have learned about the ingratitude of Islam... were they grateful for Kuwait...???? NO...
were they grateful for Iraq...?? NO - maybe grateful for Kossobo...??? again NO... are they grateful for Afgahnistan...??? are the Muslimes Pakistanies grateful for our protection in Afgahnistan...??? we have shed so much blood to protect Muslimes from the atrocities of other Muslimes that it has become disgraceful - let them kill each other... just keep them away from Europe...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid