As part of the 2011 Libyan protests in Benghazi, a very young girl in Benghazi holds out a sheet of paper that reads, “Tribes of Libya are one group”, photo dated 23 February 2011.
As a result of the 2011 Libyan uprising against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, currently there are two claimants as the official government of Libya. One is the regime of Muammar Gaddafi that controls Tripoli and some other cities in the western half of Libya, and the other is the National Transitional Council of the Libyan Republic, led by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, based in Benghazi and controls the rest of Libya.
So far France, the United Kingdom and Portugal have recognized National Transitional Council of the Libyan Republic as the sole government of Libya.
The 22-member Arab League (members: Kuwait, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Iraq, Comoros, Algeria, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Mauritania, Morocco, Djibouti, Somalia) has declared that the Muammar Gaddafi’s regime has ‘lost its legitimacy’ and that it should ‘cooperate with the national council’.
After the popular uprising of the Libyan people got control of most of the eastern half of the country, the Gaddafi regime started aerial bombardment of Libyan cities killing thousands of civilians.
On 17 March 2011 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 allowing UN member nations to provide protection to the Libyan civilians by ‘all means necessary’, including a no fly-zone.
Immediately after the UN resolution, Gaddafi regime declared a ‘ceasefire’ and its readiness for compliance with the UN resolution. But reports suggest that Gaddafi has stepped up military action and bombardment of his own country and countrymen.
On March 19, US President Barack Obama said that Gaddafi’s forces must end their attacks against rebel-held towns or face military action, adding the terms of the UN Security Council resolution in support of the action to defend Libyan civilians were ‘not negotiable’.