News / Africa

    Libya's Former Rebels Pose Challenge

    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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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...

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora