The British media have noted that one of several defectors from the Libyan Gadhafi administration, Abdel Fattah Younes al Abidi, is recognized at least by some as the “Head of the Rebel Forces.” Al Abidi defected from his post as interior minister in Gadhafi’s organization . The news from Britain is that rebel forces in Brega cheered and fired their guns in the air as al Abidi arrived. Following the raucous welcome, the deemed head of the rebels “mounted his convoy, and headed toward the front line.”
Meanwhile, at a televised press conference, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, (pictured) head of the rebel Interim National Council, outlined hope for agreements and a ceasefire. Jalil, awarene that rebels were becoming increasingly discouraged and that President Obama had again declared that there would be no American troops on the ground, was there to lay plans before the Libyan administration for a unilateral cease fire, with an agreement that Gadhafi fighters would retreat from western cities and built up areas.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, himself a former justice minister under Gadhafi, was likely influenced by a number of factors: in truth, the outlook seems bleak for the already overwhelmed rebels. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that American jets would not fly with NATO air forces. This comes at a time when, in fact, most of the air support coming primarily from the United States has been grounded for the past few days, the result of adverse weather conditions and sandstorms. Jalil indicated that if Gadhafi fighters would retreat from western cities and built up areas, the rebels would withdraw and cease the opposition campaign.
The government of Libya would not hear of the plan. Mussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Gadhafi, made this stern reply, “They are asking us to withdraw from our own cities. …. If this is not mad then I don’t know what this is. We will not leave our cities…”
British reports say that in Brega, in which Abdel Fattah Younes al Abidi, head of the rebel forces has now arrived, morale is high. The report from Brega says unarmed civilians are coming forward to join the rebel cause.