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Libya's opposition begins to assert itself

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Libya's opposition begins to assert itself


In Benghazi, the anger has yet to cool – “Gaddafi is a coward,” cries a crowd, “Gaddafi is the enemy of Allah.”

As they bury opposition fighters who fell during the fighting, they do not understand the delay over a no-fly zone.

The dead are wrapped in flags from the pre-Gaddafi era, the symbol of the new Libya the opposition wants to build.

But those involved know political legitimacy can only be conferred by the international community.

A Libyan opposition delegation has travelled to Strasbourg with this aim in mind, to set their case before the European Parliament. One thing they are adamant about; there should not be a land offensive involving foreign troops.

To consolidate its position as an alternative to Gaddafi, the opposition has serried its ranks in its heartland, the east of Libya.

One of the first voices of dissent was that of Gaddafi’s Justice Minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil. He resigned on the 21st of February, claiming to be appalled by Gaddafi’s hardcore repression of the revolt.

He announced the creation of the national council, with elections to be held in three months.

The three month deadline is too optimistic, according to human rights lawyer Abdel Hafidh Ghoga, who anticipates it might take longer than that.

The National Council of Transition was born at the beginning of March. Made up of 31 members, it is led by Mustafa Abdel Jalil. Abdel Hafidh Ghoga is the council’s spokesman.

A crisis committee has also been put together to handle foreign affairs, led by Ali Essawi, Libya’s former Ambassador to India, and the former minister Mahmoud Jebril. The soldier, and former friend of Gaddafi, Omar Hariri is responsible for military affairs.

Banding together to banish Gaddafi, the opposition is also united on one other matter – preserving Libya’s territorial integrity, with Tripoli remaining as the capital.

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