News / Africa

Rifts Exposed in Libya's Rebel Ranks

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council walks in front of a poster of slain Libyan rebels military commander General Abdel Fattah Younes after speaking at a news conference in Benghazi, Libya, August 9, 2011
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council walks in front of a poster of slain Libyan rebels military commander General Abdel Fattah Younes after speaking at a news conference in Benghazi, Libya, August 9, 2011
Elizabeth Arrott

Libya's rebel leadership is being reshuffled after the killing of its military commander. The death of General Abdel Fattah Younis late last month exposed divisions within the Benghazi government, a rift echoed in the split between rebels in the east and west.

Rebel politician Mamoud Jabril has been asked to come up with a new executive board for the rebel's Transitional National Council. A rebel spokesman says the new members are expected to be announced soon, although no deadline was given.

Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil dismissed the 14-member board Monday, following accusations that some were directly involved in General Younis' death.

TNC probes Younis' death


The rebel military commander was shot and killed July 28 after being summoned to Benghazi for questioning about possible lingering ties to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The TNC said it is investigating his death, which has further divided the fledgling rebel government.

The rebel leaders also are moving to unify the military forces. An official in the opposition interior ministry announced Tuesday there will be a reorganization of the rebel's military forces.

Ahmed Hussein said that current "security formations" will be dissolved and brought in under the command of either his ministry or the army.    

Tensions within the opposition military have been apparent for some time, fueled largely by a rivalry between Younis and Khalifa Haftar, a popular opposition figure who returned from exile in the United States.

Rift impedes TNC progress

Zaid Akl is an analyst on Libya at the Ahram Center in Cairo and believes such tensions have been more than the TNC can always handle.

"The degree of institutionalization of the Council is still somewhat immature and that is why a lot of personal interferences sort of influence the outcome, the general, organized political behavior of the Council," said Akl.

Six months into the uprising, the Council is still trying to solidify its position. In addition to the political and military reshuffle, officials say they will insist that cabinet members spend more time in Benghazi, rather than drumming up support in foreign capitals.

The international politicking has paid off, however, with a string of nations granting diplomatic recognition to the government in Benghazi.  Less clear is the opposition's military success. Despite the massive air support provided by NATO, working under a U.N. mandate, rebels in the east have been bogged down in the oil port of Brega for months.

Imbalance for military operations

What little success the opposition has enjoyed mainly has been the work of rebel forces in the west. They currently hold the western town of Bir al-Ghanam, about 80 kilometers from Tripoli, the closest the rebels have been to the capital yet.

Akl believes a certain amount of decentralization has been necessary.

"The separation between the power in the east - of the National Transitional Council - and the forces in the west, take place on a very small level that would allow for quick, on-the-field sort of assessment of the situation, and yet that would allow also for a degree of cooperation and coordination between the existing authority in the east and the field forces in the west," he said.

But Akl doesn't underestimate the fault lines within the opposition.

"It would be very naive to think Libya would be unified and united under one opinion or one banner. This will not happen. Libya was always divided under three regions. But the authority and the legitimacy of the National Transitional Council, that is very much opposed to the disintegration of Libya, will be a major factor here," he said.

Despite the council's current troubles, Akl argues the theme of national unity, along with foreign support, and the relative success in the day-to-day running of eastern Libya, will go far to support the TNC's claim of representing all of the rebel movement.




You May Like

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid