Controversies over Younis assassination in Libya

Abdel Fattah Younis, military leader of the Free Libya Forces, was assassinated Thursday. Younis was too close to Qaddafi, despite his defection, to remain truly popular with the rebels, and it is a little unlikely that his death will affect the terms of the uprising, despite what some observers are saying. He was not allowed to be a field officer because of the mistrust, so his absence would not affect the battlefield.

In fact, the hardy Free Libya forces of the Western Mountain regions took a strategic town near the Tunisian border as news of his assassination was announced. And, Brega, though being cleared of mines, has fallen to Free Libya forces in the east, a major advance for the rebels. Western observers keep looking for a stalemate, but the rebels have in fact steadily advanced.

Aljazeera English is even reporting that Younis is accused by some of having been a double agent. I have no way of knowing if the allegation has any truth to it, but obviously if it were correct, then that would affect how we should interpret the news of his demise.

Aljazeera English reports:

On the other hand, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, a leading figure in the Transitional National Council and also a defector from the Qaddafi regime, issued a statement blaming a small armed cell for the assassination and said one had been arrested. Benghazi will now ban the carrying of arms inside the city. Abdel Jalil is clearly afraid that the Obeidat tribe to which Younis belonged might be angered over his death and desert the rebel cause, and went out of his way to reassure them. (In the interests of TNC unity, it is a better story that Qaddafi loyalists got through to Younis than that he was taken out for being a double agent).

Posted in Libya | 8 Responses | Print |

8 Responses

  1. I don’t think a former Minister of the Interior in charge of Gaddafi’s security forces will be missed or mourned.

    The question is – who killed him? Did Pro-Gadaffi forces manage to kill the Free Libya Head of Staff? Or was his death ordered by rivals in an internal power struggle?

    The double agent theory may be true -in which case he may have been only the most high ranking double agent. Or perhaps Gaddafi has planted that rumour and got rid of an experienced military commander and is throwing suspicion on others.

  2. Is there any good analysis anywhere of the role he played in as military commander and then chief of staff? What was he arguing for strategically etc? Is keeping contact with the other side necessarily treacherous if a negotiated settlement is one of the possible outcomes?

  3. In a recent post you noted the more progressive values of the main line churches than the fundamentalist churches.

    Here is a letter from the Catholic leaders in Ohio telling Speaker Bohener to do the right thing. The right wing has gone so far over the edge that they threaten the nation, including the poor.

    link to

  4. Brega has not fallen, every attempted rebel attack against it has been defeated. Before you make such claims, you should really be more careful, and look for actual video evidence and reports that do not just quote rebel PR people with no independent support.

    • Of course Brega has fallen, in the sense that Qaddafi Brigades have mostly withdrawn and no longer control it. Their inhumane sowing of thousands of mines has slowed Free Libya forces in their advance east, but that is temporary.

    • “Brega has not fallen, every attempted rebel attack against it has been defeated.”:

      There are no Americans in at Saddam Airport!

  5. Al-Jazeera: General’s death puts Libyan rebels in turmoil

    link to

    long article, imho, worth a full read

    Abdel Fattah Younes has been subject of much scrutiny and scepticism among anti-Gaddafi Libyans.

    The death of rebel military commander Abdel Fatah Younes has thrown a wrench into efforts to organise the makeshift opposition army and risks putting Benghazi, and perhaps the wider effort to oust Gaddafi, into disarray.

    Younes was the subject of much scrutiny and scepticism among anti-regime Libyans both in the country and abroad since he became the highest-profile government figure to defect to their side, on February 20, after five days of increasingly bloody protests in Benghazi and elsewhere in the country.

    Though the opposition National Transitional Council quickly made Younes chief of staff of the ragtag rebel armed forces, a power struggle ensued between Younes and longtime exile Khalifa Hifter, a former general in Muammar Gaddafi’s army.

    For much of March and April, control of the rebel army seemed to pass back and forth from Younes to Hifter. Sometimes it seemed neither was in control.

    Backgrounder on Hifter: from McClatchy from March —

    link to

    Hifter sort of arrived in classic “ex-pat will be your leader with our approval” fashion and almost immediately vanished from most news reports after word that he had lost favor with the rebels … well apparently you can’t keep a good man down. How much he benefits from this killing remains to be seen but it sounds from Al-Jazeera that conflicts and rivalries have been an ongoing issue.

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