The dominant assessment in Washington and Europe since the beginning of the Libyan uprising has been that “we don’t know the rebels,” and thus can’t predict their future moves.”
In fact, we do know who the rebels are and can somewhat anticipate their next major moves: The Transitional National Council (TNC) was formed in Benghazi at the onset of the upheaval by almost all the organized Qaddafi political opposition forces. The TNC includes former diplomats, bureaucrats, military officers from the old regime. It also includes politicians and leaders from movements and groups from the political left, Marxists, Socialists, Arab Nationalists, liberals and Islamists.
The TNC’s real composition can be viewed as secularist and Islamist, the latter being the largest organized group — read militia — across the country. Tribal affiliations are important in the build-up of the new government, but the ideological divide will also be a determinant in projecting the future of the country.
Over the past months, we’ve seen the chief mentor of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Jazeera ideologue, Sheikh Yusuf al Qardawi blessing the “rebels,”...More >>