Libya: Lessons And Challenges – OpEd


By Arash Zahedi

The hard fought battle for Libya has ended at least with what seems to be the cutting of the serpent’s head. The long time ex-dictator of Libya Muammar Gaddafi apparently succumbed to his battle injuries on Thursday ending a 42-year era of ruling with an iron fist.

Although at this point different scenarios shroud the exact conditions of his death, one thing is for certain. That he would have to face the inevitable one way or another. The oppressed Libyans, now turned warriors, had wanted him dead for many years. After all Gaddafi was not a man with the cleanest of records.

Apart from killing and suppressing his nation throughout his rule, the Colonel had on his resume issues such as the mysterious disappearance of cleric Imam Musa al-Sadr along with two companions during an official visit to Libya in August 1978. Also on his record more recently is the eccentric use of fighter jets against his own people that was enough excuse for the West to enter the game like it did in the Yugoslavia of the mid 90’s and ended it the way it pleases. The West’s recent Libya adventure ultimately turned into a regime change approach without any UN approval. The beyond repair destruction of Libya’s infrastructure by the West also guarantees its presence there for years to come!

Gaddafi would be better off dead than alive for his people indeed but surprisingly it is the excitement over his death among some of his former friends and now foes that catches the attention today!

A former supporter France has been trying to highlight its role in the killing of Gaddafi. Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said Thursday that it was his country’s aerial forces who took out the convoy apparently ferrying the fugitive ruler Muammar Gaddafi out of his collapsing stronghold of Sirte. A comment flatly rejected by Libya’s National Transitional military chief, Abdul Hakim Belhaj.

Also the US government which has had good political and economic relations with Libya in recent years has taken a drastic turn against its previous stances. President Obama says “This Is a Momentous Day in the History of Libya” and that Libyans now had a chance to build a “democratic” and “tolerant nation.”

Even Italy as Gaddafi’s long time supporter and one of the few NATO countries who left the coalition against him has welcomed the development terming it as a “great victory for the Libyan people.”

Yet to be seen at this point, is of course weather as the oil giant Total owner France’s self-highlighted role mean a greater hand for the country on the wealth of the future Libya, an aim many Western countries are not good at hiding at all. One also needs to question why France and Britain were among the first states declaring the Libyan Transitional Council (NTC) as a legitimate government within days after the bombs began to fall!

Also looking back, questions arise over how, in US President Barack Obama’s words, “democratic” and “tolerant” other countries have become after invasions? Or how are the Libyans that have known no election in the past four decades going to put together a government that is going to function and be representative across the board without the possible challenge of a civil war? And more seriously, how wary indeed should the Libyans be from this point on of issues such as the hijacking of their movement?

These events have also posed a challenge to NATO’s survival. The fact that many members did not join in on the Libya mission is going to raise some questions about the survival of NATO as an institution.

Resistance groups may begin to form and create a lot of havoc. In the post-Saddam Iraq these groups hindered the forming of a government for a really long time.

Weather NTC has firm control over Libya in its entirety should be taken into serious consideration as well. Although they are said to have control in some areas in the north, they might face control troubles over the very large south. If the Gaddafi loyalists regroup in these areas, there are fears they can form the basis for resistance and terrorism even in Europe as payback for European countries who supported the overthrow of Gaddafi.

In the meantime Arab countries’ have been observing the events with caution. Except for Iraq and the Arab League and some political parties and organizations within the Arab world, the reaction to this paramount event has been one of absolute silence by regional leaders. Perhaps some are pondering over a way out of their own troubles. Countries like Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, andSaudi Arabia have also seen some forms of uprisings this year.

Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya have had their dictators dumped in different ways. Tunisia’s dictator Bin-Ali fled the country. Egypt’s Mubarak stepped down and is now facing trial. And Gaddafi was killed in an arrest eerily resembling that of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. How some remaining dictators will now choose their own end, how longer can they hold out to their sinking systems or even which one of them is the next in line are any one’s guess now.

Press TV

Press TV is a state funded news network owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran and seeks to counter a western view on news.

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