The world scoffed (especially after the Qaddafis accused the revolutionaries of a lot more outlandish things, from putting hallucinogenic drugs in their Nescafe to being simple “criminals”). These weren’t jihadist terrorists — they were ordinary Libyans seeking freedom from an evil, capricious tyrant. And their leaders were secular liberals, people like Mahmoud Jibril, Mahmoud Shammam, and Ali Tarhouni — who sold the revolution to the West and made NATO intervention politically palatable.
This narrative was challenged as it became evident that some of the best anti-Qaddafi fighters were Islamists like the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, which was later accused by some of killing interim “defense minister” Abdel Fattah Younis. Then, when Tripoli fell in August, one of the most prominent figures to emerge was Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the bearded former emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
Rebel fighters killed former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Oct. 20 outside the town of Sirte. His body was then brought back to Misurata, where it was filmed being dragged through the streets. Several close aides, including family members, have been reported killed or captured as well.
Gadhafi’s death is symbolically important for the rebels, but the fall of Sirte is even more significant for the effect it will have on the future stability of Libya. With the final holdout of the pro-Gadhafi resistance overtaken, the National Transitional Council (NTC) can now move to form a transitional government. But multiple armed groups across the country will demand a significant stake in that government, which will have serious implications for the future unity of the people who heretofore were referred as the Libyan opposition. Continue reading →
For exclusive photos from the Qaddafi family scrapbook, click here.
The glass crunched under our boots as we walked through the abandoned compound of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s military intelligence headquarters in Tripoli. It was late August, and the city had just fallen. Pancaked buildings destroyed by NATO airstrikes littered the grounds, and we entered one of the remaining undamaged buildings. For months now, we had followed the rebel offensive in Libya, monitoring the conduct of both the rebels and the Qaddafi loyalists, as well as NATO. Along the way, we were also working to ensure that the intelligence archives of the Libyan state were quickly secured and not looted or burned, as we knew they contained important answers about what had happened in the secretive country over the past 42 years of Qaddafi rule.
Forces loyal to Libya’s new rulers surged into the desert town of Bani Walid on Friday in a fierce attack on one of the last strongholds still in the hands of Moammar Gadhafi loyalists that could prove a major turning point in the war.
Explosions and gunfire echoed over the hills surrounding the town, which has been under siege for two weeks, with hundreds of die-hard supporters of the country’s fugitive former ruler concentrated around its centre.
Any doubt that the new Libya will go the way of the IslamistSharia-based law ? Read the draft Constitutional Charter that states clearly “Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).”
TRIPOLI, Libya — In a move to intensify pressure on Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, NATO introduced attack helicopters into its air campaign against Libyan forces for the first time on Saturday, military officials said.
Two American-builtApache helicopters operating from a British helicopter-carrier ship plying the Mediterranean 20 miles off the Libyan coast attacked targets before dawn near the oil city of Brega. British reporters aboard the Royal Navy ship Ocean said that both helicopters returned safely after missions lasting less than two hours. Defense officials in Paris said that French helicopters flying from the helicopter carrier Tonnerre also joined in the Brega strikes.
A poster promoting the now retreating Libyan revolution adorns a car in downtown Benghazi as the city braces for a siege on Monday, March 14, 2011 (Derek Henry Flood)
On Sunday, March 13, Jamestown met with quarrelsome, nervous, mid-level Libyan rebel commanders underneath the double green arches that mark a police checkpoint on Ajdabiya’s western approach. The commanders fell into a vigorous argument that verged on fisticuffs when asked if the road to the front line town of al-Burayqa (also known as Brega) was passable for either rebel technicals – pickup trucks fitted with .50 caliber machine guns or portable anti-aircraft guns – or foreign journalists. Non-combatants were immediately ordered away from the checkpoint, told their security could no longer be guaranteed, and were urged to return to Benghazi. A man who appeared to be an imam wearing a crisp white robe and knit skull cap paced back and forth repeating instructions to young volunteer fighters in street clothes in a belated attempt to create mission cohesion. Continue reading →