Rebels Slam NATO's Libya Effort

As rebel fighters step up their efforts against Muammar Gaddafi’s loyalist forces, taking the residential district of New Brega, a senior rebel leader has come out to criticize NATO for bureaucratic delays that he claims not only put many civilian lives in danger, but also slowed down rebel gains. “There’s a delay in reacting and lack of response to what’s going on on the ground, and many civilians have died and they couldn’t react to protect them,” said Ali al-Essawi, the foreign policy director of the National Transitional Council, in an interview Monday. According to Essawi, problems started when the U.S., Britain, and France handed over the Libya reins to NATO, which he claims will lead to a longer struggle. After heavy shelling from Gaddafi’s forces, rebel fighters fled the oil town of Brega and headed east for the city of Ajdabiya. Meanwhile, Italy and Kuwait joined France and Qatar on Monday in recognizing the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government of Libya. And despite rumors that Gaddafi could step down in favor of one of his sons, Saif and Saadi Gaddafi, Essawi was unimpressed, saying, “There’s no way to replace Gaddafi with a small Gaddafi.”