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Libyan Opposition Gets Twin Boosts
May 24, 2011

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The civil war in Libya dragged on, even as NATO-led airstrikes bombarded the capital, Tripoli, and rebel leaders found new friends abroad.

Benghazi, the country's second-largest city, became even more of a symbol of the struggle against Col. Moammar Gadhafi when the European Union opened an office there. Such an action is possibly the first step on the road to recognition on an international scale. A handful of countries, among them France, Gambia, Italy, and Water, have already recognized the rebels. Envoys from the United States have been sent to pursue similar standing.

Representatives of the forces controlling the country's eastern territory were meeting with top officials in Russia and Turkey, seeking money and commitments to aid in the struggle against a stubborn Gadhafi and the powerful forces still loyal to him. Most Western nations have frozen Libyan assets in their countries.

Rebel forces, aided by thousands of NATO airstrikes, recently broke the weekslong siege of Misrata, a city in the western part of the country. Rebels control the eastern half of the country and most of the country's significant oil ports. However, no other country has sent arms or troops to aid the rebel cause. Gadhafi continues to have the upper hand in terms of troops and munitions.

Meanwhile, in Tripoli, Gadhafi's compound withstood another aerial assault. One such earlier attack killed one of his sons and three of his grandchildren. Gadhafi is also increasingly having to do without some of his top officials. Following in the footsteps of other former advisers, Shorki Ghanem gave up his job as chairman of the stage-owned energy company NOC to join the rebel side. He was reported to be in neighboring Tunisia.

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