Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How credible are Libya's rebel leaders?

Libya's rebel leaders claimed Monday they had captured three of Moammar Gadhafi's sons, including Saif al-Islam, who is wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court. But shortly afterwards, Saif appeared in public in Tripoli, where he spoke to reporters -- raising serious questions about the reliability of the rebels' account of events.

A day later it remains unclear whether Saif al-Islam was ever in rebel hands, while another Gadhafi son, Mohammed, reportedly escaped from rebel custody. It is also uncertain whether Saadi, the third son the rebels claimed to have captured, was in their custody either.

So how much does this dent the credibility of rebels? And can the Libyan people and the international community put their faith in the Transitional National Council (TNC) to lead the nation if the Gadhafi regime falls?

Observers say the reported arrest -- and prompt reappearance -- of Saif al-Islam are at the least an embarrassing distraction for the rebels as they seek to take control of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. more