Rebels, from the Wars of the Roses up to the present civil war in Libya, usually try to postpone splitting into factions and murdering each other until after they have seized power and are in full control. However deep their divisions, they keep them secret from the outside world.
Not so the Libyan rebels. Members of their Transitional National Council (TNC) in Benghazi last month detained their military leader, General Abdel Fatah Younes, on suspicion of treachery, lured him away from his bodyguards and murdered him. This week the head of the TNC, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sacked his whole government on the grounds that some were complicit in the killing. He was apparently forced to do so in order to quell the rage of the powerful Obeidi tribe to which Younes belonged.
A ludicrous aspect of the whole affair is that at the very moment the rebel leaders are at each other’s throats, they are being recognised by country after country as the legitimate government of Libya. This week TNC diplomats took over the Libyan embassies in London and Washington and are about to do so in Ottawa. In a masterpiece of mistiming, Britain recognised the rebel government on the day when some of its members were shooting their own commander-in-chief and burning his body.