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Update On Libyan Rebels


Libyan rebel fighters celebrate after taking partial control of the coastal town of Zawiya, 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, August 14, 2011.

Based on his recent trip to Libya, U.S. Envoy to Libya Chris Stevens said that the Transitional National Council is making progress.

Based on his recent travels to Libya, U.S. Envoy to Libya Chris Stevens said, "My strong impression is that the [Transitional National Council] is making progress."

Diplomatically, the Transitional National Council, or TNC, has made great strides since April when it gained international recognition now from some 30 countries, including the United States.

On the financial front the TNC has also made significant gains. Not long ago, the rebels were in a precarious situation, unable to pay for food, medicine, or fuel to keep the power generators going in order to provide light. Now with political recognition, the TNC is hopeful that they will soon gain access to Libya's frozen assets around the world.

On the military front progress has been slow, although gradually the rebels are gaining territory from Libya's long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. On the battlefront in the Western Mountains, rebels are inching their way towards Tripoli. On the Misrata front on the coast, they've not only fought off Gadhafi's forces successfully, but they're also pushing west up the coast towards Tripoli. And finally rebels have made a push towards Brega from Benghazi where they are now unfortunately encountering landmines.

There are also challenges within TNC-held areas that must be dealt with, primary among them is security. When the regime fell it left a security vacuum. The police for the most part just left their posts out of fear of popular reaction against them because they had committed abuses in the early days against the people. With so few police around, militias started to form and fill the vacuum. The TNC is now working to address this problem. The British, French and other diplomatic missions are keeping the pressure on the TNC to get the various militias under control.

The United States supports the efforts of the rebels to liberate Libya from the clutches of Moammar Gadhafi. The NATO-led mission, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is on track. The pressure on Gadhafi is mounting. And the rebels have been gaining strength and momentum. NATO remains united in the belief that its mission must continue until the goals that were laid out by it are met.

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