Battleland

The $30 Billion Rebel

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A Libyan rebel on the front lines this week with a Russian shoulder-fired missile plundered from a government depot / Photo by Alfred de Montesquiou/Getty Images

Given last week’s decision by Washington to recognize the Libyan rebels as that nation’s legitimate government — and giving them access to at least some of the $30 billion in Libyan government funds in U.S. banks — makes you wonder: just who are these folks? Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor writes up the six weeks he spent with them in February and March in Tuesday’s paper and finds them to be Libya’s best hope:

…a post-Qaddafi Libya, rightfully, is going to look after Libyan interests first. That those interests won’t be perfectly aligned with the US, for instance, is hardly surprising. And given the character and culture of the country’s people (distaste for Israel, for instance, is as high or higher than it is in any other Arab country I’ve visited) there will be plenty that a theoretical new Libya will disagree with foreign powers about…Libya’s people have next to no experience with the sorts of coalition-building and compromise that will be needed in any transitional period…Who are Libya’s rebels? They’re, well, Libya. Nationalistic, flawed, proud, inexperienced in government. On balance, they’re the best hope for a better Libya than what Qaddafi offered.

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