Rebel Cabinet Moves to a Still-Unstable Tripoli
But Muammar Qaddafi is still missing and fighting persists
After several days of hesitation because of the precarious security situation in Tripoli, the rebel National Transitional Council--which just received $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets from the U.N.--announced today that its leadership would be moving from the eastern city of Benghazi to the capital. "I proclaim the beginning ... of the work of the executive office in a free Tripoli as of this moment," Ali Tarhouni, the council's finance minister, told reporters in Tripoli. The Christian Science Monitor noted earlier this week that opposition leaders must make the move to "prevent a power vacuum and establish themselves as the sovereign government of a new Libya." As the Monitor's Dan Murphy tweeted today, the decision makes it harder for the media and the international community to keep using its rebel vs. regime terminology. "Think when the rebellion is holding a presser in the capital with the old/new flag in the background you can call it," he wrote. "'Regime' is now 'rump.'"
But opposition leaders won't exactly be entering a secure Tripoli. Muammar Qaddafi is still at large, and fighting between loyalists and rebels is still raging in certain areas of the city." The streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday," the AP wrote this afternoon in a vivid report on the current situation in the capital. "Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red." The AP adds that "the rebels know they cannot declare a full victory in the 6-month-old civil war as long as Gadhafi has not been captured or killed."