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Guest Thinkers

Who Are the Libyan Rebels?

Three of the world’s great armies have suddenly conspired to support a group of people in the coastal cities of Libya, known, vaguely, as “the rebels”. But what do we really know about them?

They are the new friends of the West; Muammar Qaddafi calls them agents of Al Qaeda, but who really comprises the group of armed men fighting for revolution in Libya? “The hard core of the fighters has been the shabab—the young people whose protests in mid-February sparked the uprising. They range from street toughs to university students (many in computer science, engineering, or medicine), and have been joined by unemployed hipsters and middle-aged mechanics, merchants, and storekeepers. There is a contingent of workers for foreign companies: oil and maritime engineers, construction supervisors, translators.”


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