[Marxism] Guardian reports on challenges from within to Transitional Council
ffeldman at verizon.net
Sun Aug 21 16:15:19 MDT 2011
Rebel advances mask uncertainty over Libya's future
National Transitional Council may have backing of 32 countries but will
struggle to bring cohesion after Gaddafi's demise
Chris Stephen in Zlitan
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 21 August 2011 18.53 BST
The National Transitional Council, headed by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has
the backing of 32 governments but could still face difficulties bringing
order to the postwar chaos in Libya. Photograph: Burhan Ozbilici/AP
While Libya's rebels continue their military advance, questions remain
about whether the opposition National Transitional Council is fit to
take the reigns of power if – or when – the regime falls.
The NTC has been recognised as the sole representative of Libya by 32
countries, including Britain, and it will have the task of bringing
order to the expected postwar chaos.
Yet it remains without a cabinet, after the last one was sacked by
chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil on 8 August. He made the decision after
blaming it for failing to investigate the murder in July of army
commander Abdul Fatah Younis.
This investigation has made no more progress without a cabinet than with
one, and reports from Benghazi say the NTC is too divided and
faction-riven to agree on who should form a new executive. Jalil has
still to answer questions about what role his government played in the
death, after admitting that the general was murdered on the day he was
summoned for questioning by Benghazi judges.
Tensions are inevitable in a revolutionary administration starting from
the ground up, but the confusion and bickering in the aftermath of the
killing bode ill for the NTC's claim to be a government of all Libyans.
This claim has already been all but rejected by Misrata, Libya's third
city, whose inhabitants are scathing of Jalil's rule and of the poor
performance of NTC army units. Commanders in Misrata recently underlined
to journalists that they do not accept instructions from the NTC.
Jalil's task of imposing order will suffer further because his forces in
the east of the country played no part in the twin rebel offensives now
closing on Tripoli.
It is rebels in the west – from the Nafusa mountains and Misrata – that
have captured Zawiya, 30 miles west of the capital, Garyan, 40 miles
south and Zlitan, 80 miles to the west. Their commanders and politicians
will, if they storm the Libyan capital, demand a greater say in what is
currently a Benghazi-centred administration.
For the moment, rebel energy is focused on tightening the noose around
Tripoli. For weeks rebel commanders have insisted that Nato bombing has
bled Gaddafi's forces dry, and the current advances appear to confirm it.
Rather than give ground, it seems clear that Gaddafi was content to
continue pushing his reserves into shoring up his front lines. Now,
after six months of Nato pounding, he appears to have run out of units.
While Zawiya and Zlitan have seen fierce resistance from government
troops, there is no sign Gaddafi has reinforcements capable of mounting
Opposition forces remain confident that the pincers at Zawiya and Zlitan
will continue advancing and cutoff the capital.
Gaddafi's days in power will then be numbered. Without his oil depots,
and with his forces elsewhere expected to die on the vine, he is likely
to fall through revolt, either from within or without.
It will then fall to Jalil, a former judge, to unite not just the
various rebel factions, but bind them to what remains of the Tripoli
power structure. It is a tall order for a leader who been unable to
unite his own administration.
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