The Coming Conflict

Soumaya Ghannoushi in the Guardian on the emerging conflict between the NATO-backed TNC, which mainly consists of old regime people, and more grassroots revolutionary forces.

After six months of defiant resistance, fiery speeches, chilling threats and blood-curdling brutality, Gaddafi has finally fallen on his sword. His collapse, however, is far from the end of the story. Instead, it heralds the start of a more complicated chapter in his country’s history. As tanks surround Gaddafi’s last outposts in Sirte, the cold war over the country’s future gathers pace. The common enemy has been forced out of the scene, and now the vast differences between those he had brought together return to occupy the centre stage.

The vacuum created by Gaddafi’s departure is now filled by two polarised camps. The first is the National Transitional Council (NTC), made up largely of ex-ministers and prominent senior Gaddafi officials who jumped from his ship as it began to sink. These enjoy the support of Nato and derive their current power and influence from the backing of western capitals. The second is composed of political and military local leaders who have played a decisive role in the liberation of the various Libyan cities from the Gaddafi brigades.

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