[Marxism] Guardian reports on challenges from within to Transitional Council

Fred Feldman 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 
a counterattack.

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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