Profile: The Libyan Rebel Council Poised To Take Over From Colonel Gaddafi
Colonel Gaddafi's 42-year rule of Libya is unravelling quickly, leading to questions over who or what will take his place.
The National Transitional Council (NTC), has said it will move its headquarters from Benghazi in the east to Tripoli once it is safe to do so, but what do we know about the rebel council, and who represents them?
The NTC was formed in February to oppose Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and has already been recognised as the legitimate government of Libya by a number of countries around the world, including the US, UK and France. The Libyan embassy in London recently re-opened under their control after the British government kicked Gaddafi’s representatives out.
Led by Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, who resigned as Gaddafi’s justice minister in February over the regime’s violent crackdown on protestors, the council is made up of representatives from across Libya.
But many of its most prominent members come from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in the east of the country including its spokesman, vice chairman and former human rights lawyer Abdul Hafiz Ghoga and Dr Fatih Mohammed Baja, an academic and the council’s head of political affairs.
Libya is split along tribal lines and despite the relative ease by which the rebels made their way in to Tripoli, there are some fears that these tensions will be exposed if and when Gaddafi is forced out and they lose their common enemy.
Earlier this month the head of the rebel armed forces and former Gaddafi loyalist, General Abdel Fattah Younes, was killed in what was perceived at the time to be a bad omen.
While pro-Gaddafi forces were suspected of carrying out the murder, the finger was also pointed at an opposing tribal faction within the rebel forces.
But Sir Oliver Miles, the former British ambassador to Libya, told the Huffington Post UK people should have more confidence in the NTC.
“When doubters say these people are totally inexperienced, the answer to that is they have run Benghazi for the last several months,” he said.
“The only really serous problem that has marred their record is the murder of the military commander.”
Miles said that the most important thing for the new government was to maintain security on the streets and ensure water and other supplies continued to be provided.
“That’s the obviously the very first priority for the moment. It looks, fingers crossed, they may be able to achieve that,” he said.
But he warned the international community must help the new government by moving fast to free up Libyan assets frozen while Gaddafi remained in control.
“People will be starving because money that belongs to them is being held up in the international system,” he said.
The NTC’s Nato allies will also be keen to prevent retribution attacks on people who remained loyal to the Gaddafi regime for tribal reasons.
On Monday the Libyan charge d'affaires in London said the new government will move from Benghazi to Tripoli to avoid a power vacuum and unify the country under the NTC and avoid the country splitting.
Only time will tell what happens next.