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.
Abdel Fattah Younes (Telegraph)
Butthe 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.
Ankara’s weeks-long attempts to convince Gadhafi to accept a political solution did not bear any fruit. The dialogue with Tripoli was broken off once Turkey rallied behind the NATO-led military operation, while the hesitant approach toward Benghazi created huge frustration among the Libyan rebels.
In a U-turn triggered by concerns that it would be excluded from shaping a post-Gadhafi Libya, Turkey recognized Benghazi and said it would give $300 million in support for the National Transitional Council.
Turkish officials say the closer engagement with Benghazi aims at reaching peace and stability in Libya and that economic interest are only a secondary issue. Senior diplomat Selim Yenel dismisses claims that Turkey and some Western powers are competing on the future of the country and its economic resources.
“Turkey is pursuing a more active foreign policy. But it would be wrong to describe it as neo-Ottomanism. We never have had such a dream,” Ambassador Yenel told Deutsche Welle. “We are not in competition with anybody. We really want to see stability in Libya. What is important is the end of military conflict, Libya gaining stability and prosperity.”
A delegation of Libyan rebels, led by the leader of the National Transitional Council (NTC), has met with NATO and EU officials to discuss the ongoing situation in Libya.
For a long time, European governments treated the NTC with caution, as they did not know what it was or what its members wanted.
However, the NTC has now been recognized by several countries as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people, and in recognition of this, its leader Mahmoud Jibril was received in Brussels on Wednesday.
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Jibril held talks with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at NATO headquarters, and Rasmussen expressed the importantance of the visit.
“They [the NTC] have a great responsibility for the smooth transition to a democratic and inclusive future in Libya,” said Rasmussen.
In an interview published today in the French daily Le Figaro, a spokesman for Libya’s National Transitional Council acknowledged that Islamic extremists figure among the rebels fighting to overthrow the rule of Muammar al-Gaddafi. But the spokesman, Mahmoud Shamman, insisted that the “radical elements” represent only a “tiny portion” of the rebels: namely, “no more than 15 percent.” Shammam also acknowledged that members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group form part of the opposition.
The International Criminal Court has accused Gadaffi of ordering mass rapes,among other war crimes, but they have denied these allegations, even after some videos and photos of abuses are in the MSM hands (although without the necessary checkup to know the people in them):
The Gadhafi regime had initially not responded to CNN requests for comment on the abuse allegations but Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi said Friday at a news conference that women are “our sisters” and Libyan soldiers would not commit such heinous acts.
But the documents in which the ICC has based its accusations have surfaced (more here):
One document shows the commanding general of government forces instructing his units to starve Misrata’s population during the four-month siege. The order, from Youssef Ahmed Basheer Abu Hajar, states bluntly: “It is absolutely forbidden for supply cars, fuel and other services to enter the city of Misrata from all gates and checkpoints.” Another document instructs army units to hunt down wounded rebel fighters, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Plans to bombard the city are also in the archive, say investigators, who also claim they have a message from Gaddafi relayed to the troops ordering that Misrata be obliterated and the “blue sea turned red” with the blood of the inhabitants.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday accused Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to use rape as a weapon of war against hundreds of women, in a bid to curb the rebels fighting for his resignation.
‘There is evidence that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi ordered mass rape and sexual drug shipments purchased for the troops to attack the women, “said Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the ICC, based in the Dutch city of The Hague.
Speaking to the press, Moreno-Ocampo said that this is a new aspect of the repression of Colonel Gaddafi, who will join the other charges brought against him, according to a report of Radio Nederland.