Can Libya's Rebel Forces Really Take On Gadhafi? Opposition commanders say they have enough troops and arms to mount an offensive against Tripoli and other cities that remain in Moammar Gadhafi's control. But their army does not appear to be a cohesive, professional force. In the dusty outpost of Ajdabiya, men almost seem to be playing at being soldiers.
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Can Libya's Rebel Forces Really Take On Gadhafi?

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Can Libya's Rebel Forces Really Take On Gadhafi?

Can Libya's Rebel Forces Really Take On Gadhafi?

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro travelled to the town of Ajdabiya today and filed this report.

LOURDES GARCIA: The storerooms here look like something out of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." There are warehouses after warehouses with munitions stacked to the ceiling, and it's been partially looted. The munitions are scattered in a lot of places. It's a chaotic mess, and it's only guarded by about 30 men.

NIGEL COLLINS: There's grail, ground-to-air missiles, which are those things there.

GARCIA: Nigel Collins was at the munitions dump providing security for a Canadian news crew. He is ex-British army and says the weapons are not state of the art, but there is a lot of them, and they can be effective.

COLLINS: This will work if you put it in the hands of people that know what they're doing.

GARCIA: But will the new force that is being built here be up to the task? Commanders are training young recruits in schools and mosques for up to four hours each day. Most men in Libya have some military experience because they are required to serve for at least six months. But the rebel army doesn't appear to be a cohesive professional force. At the weapons depot in Ajdabiya, only a few men stand guard.

ASHRAF MUSHATY: (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA: The men here almost seem to be playing at being soldiers. One of the militia men suddenly grabs a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and fires it into the desert to impress a TV crew.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROCKET PROPELLER)

GARCIA: Hani el Abieday is a 39-year-old engineer who has volunteered to fight for the rebel army. He used to live in Germany, so he knows what a professional military looks like.

HANI EL ABIEDAY: (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA: Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News.

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