Their admission that the shadowy Abu Obeida al-Jarrah Brigade was behind the assassination of Gen Abdel Fattah Younes has raised concern that religious elements within the rebellion have now acquired considerably greater influence than previously thought.
Thursday’s killing of Gen Younes, who earlier this year defected from the Tripoli government to join the opposition fight against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi‘s regime, came as a damaging blow to the rebels’ military efforts. He was widely seen as one of the few military figures on the rebel side capable of organising their forces against the better trained Libyan government army.
But the admission that the militia whose members are responsible for his death has Islamist leanings, and had been allowed to operate in the east of the country with apparent impunity, will reignite fears that the West\’s support of the Libyan rebels may ultimately open the way to an Islamic state when Col Gaddafi is eventually forced out.
By a coincidence that is embarrassing for the Foreign Office, the assassination came just one day after Britain swallowed its reservations and followed France and the US in formally recognising the rebels\’ Transitional National Council, based in Benghazi, as the legitimate government of Libya.
- Libyan rebels say Islamist militia shot dead military chief General Abdel Fattah Younes (telegraph.co.uk)
- Top Libya rebel ‘shot by Islamist militia’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Libyan rebel leader killed: Abdel Fattah Younes factfile (telegraph.co.uk)
- Assasination as political strategy: Islamists eliminate rival leader in Libya (yidwithlid.blogspot.com)