On July 31, in wake of Yunis's assassination, rebels battled each other in Benghazi in what
spokespeople asserted marked a campaign to eradicate a "fifth column" loyal
to Gadhafi, Middle East Newsline reported. Yunis comes from the Obeidi tribe, the largest in eastern
"Since the issue of the tribes is sensitive, we did not want to stop
them, from the early days," rebel Deputy Interior Minister Mustapha Sagazly
told a briefing.
"The key to the Libyan resolution will be whether or not the close
circle around Col. Gadhafi recognize there is no point investing in him,"
British Defence Minister Liam Fox said. "[That h]e is a busted flush, and that he
will sooner or later have to leave power."
In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. on Aug. 1, Fox
expressed NATO frustration over the rebel movement. The British minister
said the rebel movement was a long way from achieving power and remained
unable to capture Gadhafi strongholds.
"It always had limited capacity on the ground," Fox said.
On Aug. 1, Fox arrived in Washington for talks with U.S. Defense
Secretary Leon Panetta to review the NATO mission in Libya. Most of the
participants in the NATO mission have expressed concern that the rebel war
would continue for years despite daily air strikes by the Western alliance.
"They [rebels] are being assisted in terms of communications and their
logistics and making the best use of the equipment that they have," Fox
said. "They may be getting equipment from elsewhere but they will still have
limited ground potential."
On Aug. 1, Norway withdrew its fighter-jet fleet from the NATO mission
in Libya. Norway had deployed up to six U.S.-origin F-16 multi-role fighters
to target facilities of the Gadhafi regime.
At the same time, France relayed $259 million in frozen Gadhafi funds
to the Libyan rebels. The French government said the money should be used
for "food and medicine."
"The NTC will now be able to use these funds for purchases of a
humanitarian nature," the French Foreign Ministry said on Aug. 1.