Libya Rebel Faction Aims to Centralize Control Over Fighters

Vows to 'Criminalize' All Fighters Outside Their Formal Control

The anti-Gadhafi rebel movement started as a piecemeal reaction to violent crackdowns in the east, but once it obtained a Western imprimatur, a group quickly formed calling itself the National Transitional Council and aiming to be the voice of the rebel movement.

Now, it seems, that effort includes moving against any rebel factions which remain outside of their formal control. Reports from The Times of London tonight report that the NTC intends to criminalize all rebel organizations but theirs as of August.

All of this is being couched as an effort to keep “Islamic extremists” out of the movement, and this may sit well with many of the Western nations which are worried about al-Qaeda infiltration of the rebel movement.

In the end however it is unclear how this move will accomplish anything like that, and rather seems aimed at assuring that rebel factions all rally under the NTC’s pro-West banner. This may include many Islamist factions for the time being, but could also lead the rebels to more fighting internally than attempting to move ahead in the civil war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of