(it just never seems to play out like it did in star wars….)

Libyan rebels struggle to explain rift

“BENGHAZI, Libya — Libya’s rebel military struggled Saturday to explain an apparent rift within its highest ranks….

“[A] day after the strike, the interim government sought to distance itself from a popular army commander it had earlier embraced.

Khalifa Haftar, a former army colonel who recently returned to Libya after living for many years in Falls Church, was initially hailed by the Transitional National Council as a leader who could help discipline the new army and train its largely volunteer ranks.

“But Saturday, Ghoga said Haftar had no leadership role in the army.

“‘We defined the military leadership before the arrival of Haftar from the United States,’ he said, referring to the appointment of Abdul Fattah Younis [al-Obaidi] as commander of the armed forces and Omar al-Hariri as the council’s senior defense official. ‘We told Mr. Haftar that if he wants, he can work within the structure that we have laid out.’

“However, a source within the military who is close to Haftar said Haftar is still commanding the army, and that Ghoga’s announcement had upset the public.

“‘Because of that, today Benghazi is upside down,’ the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. ‘They are saying Ghoga has to go. The people, they want Haftar. No one can take him away from the army, or from our hearts.’

“Haftar and Younis are known to have had tensions since Haftar joined Younis in early March in Benghazi and was announced as the commanding officer under Younis….”

libyan rebels struggle to explain rift? how about that these two guys come from TWO DIFFERENT TRIBES and, therefore, prolly have different supporters? khalifa haftar is from the firjian tribe, an arab tribe having “large populations in the sirte, ajdabiya and benghazi districts.” the other guy is from the al-obaidi tribe, which is also big in the east, but is obviously a different tribe from the firjian:

“Gen. Abdel Fattah Younis, Libya’s former interior minister who was also one of the original members of the Revolutionary Command Council that staged the 1969 coup. Younis was one of the highest-profile defectors in the early days of the Libyan revolt, having joined the opposition after being dispatched to Benghazi to quell the uprising. Though he continues to be reported as a council member by some, there is no confirmation as to the status of Younis, who still commands a significant degree of loyalty among certain swathes of the eastern Libyan population, where his tribe — the Obeidat — resides. [source]

btw — that woman who accused government troops of holding her captive and raping her — the one they dragged off right before our very eyes — she’s also an al-obaidi.

previously: libya – land o’ tribes

(note: comments do not require an email.)