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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs