The rebels in Libya raised the Russian flag

The correspondents of "Izvestia" Orhan Dzhemal and Marat Saychenko transmit from the front line. The rebels consider themselves to be a regular army and call Russia their ally.

The rebels in Libya raised the Russian flag



In Benghazi, after the visit of Senator Margelov, Gadhafi’s opponents raised the Russian flag. They now consider the Russians allies.

Two months ago, on the Libyan-Egyptian border, the rebels refused to let Russian journalists through. After Dmitry Medvedev sent here as the special representative of Mikhail Margelov, the Russians fell in love. We are slapped on the shoulders and called “gardens” (friends). The Russian flag is now flying in the main square in Benghazi among the flags of countries that have recognized the rebel leaders as the legitimate Libyan government.

The difference between “recognition” and “messenger” does not attach much importance here. Now, by the way, the new authorities do not like to be called “rebels” (rebels), they already prefer to be called “suvar” (revolutionaries). It turns out funny, the Libyan "Suvar" are fighting with the leader of the Libyan revolution Gaddafi and his "revolutionary committees" ("Lidzhan sauriyya").


Peaceful life in Benghazi is getting better and little reminds of recent battles
Marat Saychanko, Izvestia


The work of a journalist here begins with accreditation. The press center employs young girls 3 - Aisha, Lina and Nada. The first two are wrapped in shawls (we would say “Wahhabi”), but Nada is wearing jeans and sneakers; curly hair is tied into tails, looks like a black American skulgerl on a vacation. And on the most muffled up to the very eyebrows Lina all "sink." Many of our Arab acquaintances are asking to present them to her, seeing that Lina and I are short-sighted (we politely shake our outstretched hand).

Accreditation of the girl is issued without any checks and questions. But we still need to get permission to travel by sea to Misurata, another center of the uprising. We were promised that there would be no problems with this either, except for the guy who gave the permission, Fauzi, we never failed to find it. As a result, I had to go without permission.

Misurata is a port in the western part of Libya (Tripolitania), which (minus Misurata) did not rise against Gaddafi. There are still active battles around the rebellious enclave and reports about dozens of dead during the bombardment of either NATO or Gadhafi’s artillery almost every day.


The rebels already call themselves army
Marat Saychenko, Izvestia


The rebels of the eastern part (Cyrenaica) allies in the west are interpreted as a single impulse of Libya against the dictatorial regime. For Gaddafi, the same is the hearth of the insurgency in the loyal zone as a thorn in the eye. At negotiations through numerous international mediators (including Margelov), he pushes a compromise option: reforming Libya into a confederation (with its capital in Tripoli) to the loyal West and rebelling against it East. He himself promises to retire if given the chance to do this without losing face.

The latter is doubtful. We talked on the street with a middle-aged Libyan named Osama. He studied at a military school in Iraq 25 years ago, more recently he fought with caddaphists in Misrata, and now he supplies there weapons. Osama speaks slowly and majestically, with almost Shakespearean turns: "I want to drink a cocktail of vodka and blood." Seeing our eyebrows crept up, theatrically smiles: "From vodka and animal blood ... Muammar can not be considered a man!".


There are many people like him, the revolutionary minimum program is often formulated as follows: we are forced to kill many, and we want only one death, this is Gaddafi’s death. But while the Libyan dictator is invulnerable to NATO bombs and behaves confidently in public, strengthening among his supporters his own reputation as a “tough guy.” His supporters in Libya range from about 15 to 30 percent. And if in the spring in Benghazi it was not customary to talk about their political convictions “not like everyone else”, now this is no longer a secret. On the very first day, a guy who was shouting "Gaddafi, Gaddafi" and showing us "victory" rushed past us in a car.

In parallel, attempts to discourage Misurata Gaddafi from the rebels and the war in the east. Adzhdabiya, the most important transportation hub, a city from which roads spread throughout the east of Libya, with the support of NATO, the rebels managed to seize and hold. Already 3 have been fighting for Bregu, the port, next to which the giant Ras Lanuf oil refinery, with varying success - oil and gas pipelines are being pulled there, here is a factory that produces rails and sleepers for road construction (the contractor is our Russian Railways). In general, those who own Bregay control a good half of the Libyan economy.


Field Mosque
Marat Saychenko, Izvestia


The third front against Gaddafi is open on the Tunisian border. The Berber tribes rebelled there.

However, his opponents are also not sweet. Ali Tarhuni, who is in charge of finance in the rebel government, complains that there is a shortage of money. The rebels were counting on Gadhafi’s accounts arrested in Western banks, but the Western allies of the rebels easily froze the money and refused to alienate them for anyone's benefit.

So far, the assets of the new authorities are only 420 million euros, promised by Italy, but never appeared on the accounts due to bureaucratic delays. There is also a contract for 1,2 billion dollars with the United States for the supply of oil, but so far the rebels have managed to ship only one tanker. There are also various targeted programs like 1 of a million dollars allocated by the United States for the purchase of man-portable air defense systems from the population, which the population itself stole from army stores in February. Light rifle weapons, plundered at the same time, are now also bought up, but not by the Americans, but by local crime. The price of a Belgian rifle on the black market is about 2 thousand dollars.
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