The United States officially recognized the Libyan rebels, also known as the Transitional National Council, or TNC, as the new interim Libyan government. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the announcement at a conference in Istanbul on Friday. "So I am announcing today that, until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis," said Clinton.
Recognition of the TNC could give the new Libyan regime access to assets that have been frozen by the Unites States government. How much money and how the money will be spent is anyone's guess. Weapons and Swiss bank accounts come immediately to mind.
U.S. officials and the TNC met in a private meeting today in Tunisia which lasted three hours. Neither side would disclose what was discussed or negotiated. A laundry list of U.S. demands contingent on releasing the frozen assets would be my bet for what the talks entailed.
Over 30 countries have formally recognized the TNC with the exception of France who is still in talks directly with Moammar Gaddafi.
Questions we need answered is just who these rebels are. Who is the official leader, what kind of government they plan on running, and how they want to deal with Gaddafi if or when he steps down.
What if the TNC fails and Gaddafi regains his power in Libya? We will be dealing with the same Gaddafi from the 1970's who took responsibility for blatant terrorist acts such as the bombing of the 747 passenger jet over Lockerby, Scotland.
For over a decade Moammar Gaddafi joined the rest of the global community and renounced terrorism outright. Not to say that he was a perfect angel, not by a long shot, but he at least we knew who we were dealing with. These rebels could turn out to be hard line caliphs. We just don't know.
After the civil war and the NATO bombing, dealing with Gaddafi will be like grabbing a tiger by its tail. I see a triumphant Gaddafi embracing terrorism and its main focus of his wraththe Unites States.
We shouldn't count our puppets until their strings are thoroughly attached.
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