In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Libya rebels say Younis killers were ‘Islamist element’

Posted by seumasach on July 30, 2011

The ultimate fiasco is unfolding before us. NATO are keeping dangerous company with these CIA, salafist networks or is it the CIA, Salafist networks which are keeping dangerous company with NATO. Of course, NATO kept similar company in Kosovo, but at that time they were still able to spin everything to order. Now there game is falling apart- time for Hague to answer for himself in the House of Commons: was he warned about the criminal connections of these groups before he appointed them as Libya’s official representatives? Anyway he can only look away in horror as these words are written on the wall

“We want Muammar to come back! We want the green flag back!”


30th July, 2011

The gunmen who shot dead the Libyan rebels’ military chief Abdul Fatah Younis were members of an Islamist-linked militia allied to the campaign to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, according to a National Transitional Council minister.

After 24 hours of confusion surrounding the death, the NTC’s oil minister, Ali Tarhouni, said Younis had been killed by members of the Obaida Ibn Jarrah Brigade, a militia named after one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, suggesting that Islamist elements were involved.

Tarhouni told reporters in Benghazi that a militia leader who had gone to fetch Younis from the frontline had been arrested and had confessed that his subordinates carried out the killing. “It was not him. His lieutenants did it,” Tarhouni said, adding that the killers were still at large.

The NTC leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil said on Thursday that Younis had been recalled for questioning to Benghazi but was killed before he arrived. Relatives said they retrieved a burned and bullet-riddled body.

The Gaddafi government has said the killing is proof the rebels are not capable of ruling Libya. Spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said: “It is a nice slap [in] the face of the British that the [NTC] they recognised could not protect its own commander of the army.”

Ibrahim said Younis was killed by al-Qaida, repeating a claim that the group is the strongest force within the rebel movement. “By this act al-Qaida wanted to mark out its presence and its influence in this region,” he said, adding: “The other members of the National Transitional Council knew about it but could not react because they are terrified of al-Qaida.”

Younis’s death has raised fear and uncertainty in Benghazi, the rebel stronghold. Thousands marched behind his coffin, wrapped in the rebels’ tricolour flag, to the graveyard for his burial, chanting that he was a martyr “beloved by God”. Troops fired a military salute as the coffin arrived, and angry and grieving supporters fired wildly into the air with automatic weapons.

At the graveside, Younis’s son, Ashraf, broke down in tears as they lowered the body into the ground. And in a startling and risky display in a city so allied to the rebel cause, pleaded hysterically for Gaddafi’s return to bring stability back to Libya. “We want Muammar to come back! We want the green flag back!” he shouted at the crowd, referring to Gaddafi’s national banner.

Younis’s death appeared to shake both the NTC and its western allies, who have heavily backed the rebels controlling most of eastern Libya.

Two weeks ago 32 nations including the US made a major commitment by formally recognising the NTC as the country’s legitimate government. On Wednesday the British foreign secretary, William Hague, declared the council Libya’s “sole governmental authority” and invited the body to set up full diplomatic relations with London.

Western worries will likely be deepened if Younis’s death opens major splits among the fractious rebels. Divisions would also weaken the opposition’s campaign to oust Gaddafi, which has largely stalled in a deadlock despite the four-month-old Nato bombing campaign against regime forces.

In Washington, state department spokesman Mark Toner said the circumstances of Younis’s death remained unclear. He pressed the opposition to shore up any cracks in their front against Gaddafi. “What’s important is that they work both diligently and transparently to ensure the unity of the Libyan opposition,” Toner said.

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