Free-lance journalist John Rosenthal provides here some alarming Italian insights into the Libyan opposition. (The Italians have historically had close ties with Libya.)
-- Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini emphasizes Western ignorance concerning the nature of the opposition to Gaddafi, which includes the self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate of East Libya. “We do not know more [about it],” Frattini says, “But we know that they are dangerous. There are elements of al-Qaeda there. As consequence, in 2006 we decided to close the Italian consulate in Cyrenaica [eastern Libya].”
-- Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi reports that the opposition to Gaddafi in the eastern part of the country is itself armed. He saw former soldiers and police (now with the rebels) opening up “massive wooden crates containing bazookas and ammunition of all sorts of calibers.”
Rosenthal also notes that "the first images of protesters holding pictures of Gaddafi with Stars of David scrawled on them have also begun to appear." In other words, just because Gaddafi is bad doesn't make his enemies good guys.