A Libyan Fight for Democracy, or a Civil War?

(New York Times) David D. Kirkpatrick - Is the battle for Libya the clash of a brutal dictator against a democratic opposition, or is it fundamentally a tribal civil war? The behavior of the fledgling rebel government in Benghazi so far offers few clues to the rebels' true nature. Like the Gaddafi government, the operation around the rebel council is rife with family ties. And the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories. In the neighborhoods of the capital that have staged major peaceful protests, many have volunteered that their demonstrations were nonviolent mainly because they could not obtain weapons fast enough. The eastern region around Benghazi had always been a hotbed of opposition to Gaddafi, in part because tribes there had enjoyed the favoritism of the former king, Idriss I, whom Gaddafi overthrew.

2011-03-22 00:00:00

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