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Libyan rebels make gains; Qaddafi plays chess

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Libya TV via Reuters TV/Reuters

(Read caption) Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi plays chess with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the international chess federation, in Tripoli on June 12, in this still image taken from video broadcast on Libyan state television.

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Libya's rebels continue to roll up diplomatic success and are showing signs of taking the fight to Muammar Qaddafi's troops in a growing number of locations in western Libya, where Qaddafi was firmly in control when the NATO no-fly zone was imposed over the country on March 17.

While the rebels were preparing to host the German foreign minister in Benghazi today, Qaddafi was being shown on Syrian state TV playing chess with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian president of the World Chess Federation who often recounts his cordial meetings with extraterrestrials.

Unless Mr. Ilyumzhinov's friends are going to come to Qaddafi's aid, the rebels had a better day of it. Germany Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was the latest in a string of diplomats to recognize the rebels in their de facto capital. Germany declared the Transitional National Council is the "legitimate representative" of the Libyan government. Though the council is self-appointed, German recognition, following that of France and Italy, is part of an effort to bolster the group of businessmen, lawyers, and officials who defected from Qaddafi's regime as a focal point for transition if and when Qaddafi goes.

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