With the imminent departure of Muammar Gaddafi from absolute power as the rebels are closing on Tripoli two CIA-backed Libyan groups and an al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a declared foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by the US State Department since 2004, could emerge as real power in Libya when it is clear that the rebel military forces are a patchwork of armed groups, former soldiers and freelance militias including self-appointed neighborhood gangs.
The main rebel group, based in Benghazi in the country’s east, consists of former government ministers who have defected, and longstanding opposition figures, representing a range of political views including Arab nationalists, Islamists, secularists, socialists and businessmen.
With the fall of Gaddafi’s 42-year rule the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), the Libyan National Army (LNA), military wing of the NFSL and Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) are likely to emerge to become the real power behind any administration in post-Gaddafi Libya.
Groups who had been organizing against Gadhafi for years are at least partly responsible for provoking the protests which started last February. The composition of forces opposing Gadhafi consists of a wide range of groups of people each with their own agenda but whose common purpose is his overthrow.