The Foreign Dispatch
Libya: Take Me to Your Leader
By Fox News Radio's Courtney Kealy
Finding Commanders on the ground proves difficult. There's little sense of a Military command structure. It's unclear who runs this rebel show that in this desiccated sandy Libyan desert feels sometimes like scenes from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Many rebel fighters tell you they fight for freedom that Muammar al-Qaddafi can go to hell but it remains unclear who is really in charge of this rag tag group of so called revolutionaries. They rock around in Toyota pickups blasting anti aircraft machine guns in the air to chants of "Allah U Akbar."
Their trucks sprayed in mutli-colored graffiti often saying "thawra" or revolution. They race up and down the coastal desert road with conviction. But its kids being forced to change into men in the space of hours.
Typical western Army training takes place over at least several months. Here university students find anti-aircraft machine guns thrust in their hands as soon as they raise them to volunteer to serve.
Their fingers on the trigger as they walk around their defensive lines prove the primary and arguably the most important lesson of safety first, hasn't been taught.
A lot of the Sam-7's they carry on their shoulder lack battery units. Some of them thought they were RPG's and carried unusable SAM-7 launching tubes with RPG warheads. Others reportedly do have SAM-7's that they can fire.
There doesn't appear to be a clear Military intelligence strategy, and Military intel is crucial for soldiers launching an offensive to have a clear picture of what lies ahead.
"Only God Knows", one Soldier told me shrugging his shoulders when asked
But they say they will fight on until Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi the despotic ruler here who has held Libya in his bloody grip for over 41 years is jailed or killed.
Anxiety and paranoia remain high here in a land where people say they knew if they even spoke ever so slightly about the regime they could disappear.
I visited Muammar al-Qaddafi's compound in Tripoli just over ten years ago when the one of the two Lockerbie bombers, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was sentenced to life imprisonment and Lamin Khalifah Fhima was found not guilty, acquitted of 270 counts of murder in the Pan Am flight 103 bombing trial held in the Netherlands and sent home to Libya.
Minders picked us up at the airport escorted us to the hotel and kept us there revealing no details of where we would go. We found ourselves at the arrival of Lockerbie bomber Fhima. We scrambled over each other to get pictures and sound, a typical journalist scrum.
Back on our Press bus the minders scold us, if we didn't behave they told us we would not visit the "Great Leader". Then we realized we were pulling into his compound and Colonel Qaddafi was there in a small crowd of security hugging his new hero who looked slightly cowed. We scrambled over each other forming another tight scrum. With one hand around the acquitted bomber, al-Qaddafi would throw another hand out to point to a part of his compound and the tight circle of Journalists would lurch and sway snapping and filming away.
A few days later, The Great Leader ordered a protest. Buses of schoolchildren were let out to line up, march and chant around Green Square. Some young schoolgirls were particularly enthusiastic and had hoisted a classmate in green army fatigues on their shoulders. She was leading a vigorous call and response. One of the little girls in a white headscarf asked me in a thin high voice in English, "Where are you from?" I looked around saw no one in earshot and leaned down whispering to the little girls, "America".
"Oh America good, good" many of them responded with big smiles giving me the thumbs up. I shushed them and smiled, it clearly wasn't want authorities had put them in the square to say.
Meanwhile ten years on here in the Libyan desert, rebel forces stage in defensive and offensive positions manning checkpoints saying they'll fight until al-Qaddafi goes.