Shakeup

Rift in Libyan Rebel Leadership?

Now would be a bad time to start a power grab. The battle lines seem to have stabilized at the oil town of Brega after days of Gaddafi's forces pushing back rebel gains. But a split may be forming in the rebel leadership. Khalifa Haftar, a former army colonel who recently returned to Libya after living in Falls Church, Virginia, was initially welcomed by the transitional government for training and disciplining the inexperienced rebel fighters. Saturday, however, Abdul Hafidh Ghoga, spokesman for the rebel government, played down Haftar's role, saying that Abdul Fattah Younis commanded the army. A military source says the statement upset the public and that Benghazi is now calling for Ghoga's departure. Relations between Haftar and Younis have been tense since Younis joined the army in early March. Younis was Gaddafi's interior minister until he defected in February to join the rebels, while Haftar took part in the coup that brought Gaddafi to power and was a hero in Libya's war with Chad before going into exile as an activist against the regime. The troops themselves differed as to whether they were being lead by Haftar or Younis, but seemed unconcerned by the disagreement.