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Cracks emerge among Libya's rebels, from front lines to Tripoli

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“There is no difference between Benghazi and Tripoli. All of us are one. All Libya is one,” said the officer, Saleh al-Mabruk, when asked about high-level power struggles.

“It is my wish to be by this brother from Benghazi,” replied Mohammed al-Arabi, the middle-aged bystander, as he held Mr. Mabruk’s gun. “We are proud to meet you on Libyan free land, which gave thousands of martyrs.”

Divisions at the top

Such warmth, however, no longer defines relations at the top. NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil arrived in Tripoli from Benghazi for the first time on Saturday, and national reconciliation is his top priority.

"All revolutionaries: Avoid violating the sanctity of homes ... avoid harming the women and children of the former regime," said Mr. Jalil, emphasizing unity as he addressed thousands of flag-waving Libyans in his first public appearance in Tripoli. "If anyone is responsible for something, they alone are responsible. Children and wives have nothing to do with it."

Jalil's No. 2, Mr. Jibril, has already come under fire during his week in town.

“[Jibril] is not welcome here. He represents nobody,” said Anees al-Sharif, a spokesman for the Tripoli military council. “We just got rid of one dictator. We don’t want another one.”

Announcing the push to civilian rule late on Saturday, Jibril went out of his way to thank the “heroes” of the revolution, who fought – aided by NATO airstrikes – to topple the former regime.

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