The family and tribe of the slain Libyan rebel commander today joined the U.S. in putting the opposition government on notice that it must conduct a thorough and open investigation into the killing or face an unruly crisis of confidence.
The dire warning for the rebel Transitional National Council came as Norway ended its combat role in the NATO air campaign, as promised, after four months. The Norwegians yesterday pulled the last four of six F-16s back home.
Britain, however, made up for Norway’s withdrawal, sending four more Tornado ground-attack jets to replace the F-16s.
Meanwhile, the son of murdered Gen. Abdel Fattah Younes warned that his father's assassination wreaks of an inside job, calling for an honest and detailed investigation to keep his powerful Obeidi tribe from a violent split with the rebel TNC.
"The way he was killed looks like a betrayal, so until now we are trying to calm and control the youth of the tribe, but we don't know what could happen," one of Younes's sons told reporters.
The threat from the Obeidi tribe came a day after the State Department warned the TNC to carry out a credible investigation.
"It's important that, given the fluidness of the situation on the ground, that the Transitional National Council work to ensure that it takes the right kinds of actions, such as an investigation into the death, and sends a clear and transparent message that they speak on behalf of the Libyan opposition and the Libyan people and that they are diligently carrying out their mandate," said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
The U.S. still has faith in the TNC, as demonstrated by its decision announced today to allow the rebels to re-open the Libyan Embassy in Washington. The State Department's decision will also give the TNC access to about $13 million in embassy assets that had been frozen.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) predicted the Arab Spring pro-democracy movement hinges on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's demise, as well as a crackdown on the reign of terror in Syria under President Bashir al-Assad.