August 26, 2011
The NATO backed rebel forces entered in the capital Tripoli, Libya. They succeeded in detaining Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son for a few hours, but were not able to arrest him till the writing of these lines. The press reports indicate that sooner, Gaddafi will be either arrested, killed or went into self-exile. Conversely, Gaddafi and his loyalists have been guarding areas in Tripoli including the Bab al Aziziya—headquarter of the regime.
The unceremonious departure of a dictator will not guarantee the peaceful and prosperous Libya. The rebel Transition National Council (TNC) that has been widely recognized by the international community as the legitimate authority in Libya certainly has limited capacity to address the problems of Libya. Indeed, the change of guards in Libya would be having lasting political spill-over impact on the Middle Eastern and North Africa’s political systems.
The Western leaders and political analysts has been declaring the success of rebel forces in different parts of Libya as a ‘victory of democratic values’ without mentioning the five-month North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) constant bombing campaign against the Gaddafi’s forces. President Obama stated on August 22, 2011 that: “Tonight, the momentum against the [Gadhafi] regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The [Gadhafi] regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.” Ironically he failed to mention or make a slight reference to the fact that the coalition forces collective military effort was the cause of the success of the rebels instead of indigenous rebel Transition National Council. More precisely, the NATO bombing had prevented the recapturing of Benghazi (the rebels headquarter) and crushing the revolt that was erupted on February 17, 2011.
Though the departure of Gaddafi will end the nearly 42 years’ authoritarian political system in Libya, yet this unceremonious departure of a dictator will not guarantee the peaceful and prosperous Libya. The rebel Transition National Council (TNC) that has been widely recognized by the international community as the legitimate authority in Libya certainly has limited capacity to address the problems of Libya. Indeed, the change of guards in Libya would be having lasting political spill-over impact on the Middle Eastern and North Africa’s political systems.
The TNC have a few advantageous. For instance, the entire Western world including a few Arab and African countries support the movement against Gaddafi. In addition, the Western oil hungry multinational companies are ready to invest in the Libyan infrastructure to benefit from the oil wells of Libya. The Britain (which has frozen about 12 billion pounds [$20 billion] of Libyan assets) and Germany (which frozen euro-7 billion [$10.1 billion] announced that they would release the frozen assets of Libya to help the TNC in rebuilding Libya after the demise of Gaddafi regime. The release of these frozen assets will provide enough money to TNC during the transitional phase of Libya. Moreover, France announced plans for an international meeting next week; and Italy sent a team to the rebels’ base of Benghazi, Libya, to help plan reconstruction and the restoration of oil and natural gas production.
Importantly, the Libyan‘s revolt against the Gaddafi authoritarian rule was also welcomed by its neighboring Arab and African nations. French lobbied for NATO military operation and secured UNSC Resolution 1973. The resolution was interpreted according to pre-conceived or pre-constituted strategy of the Western powers. The Arab and African nations did not object the massive use of force against the regional sovereign state. These states compliance strategy supported the notion of humanitarian intervention.
The human intervention in Libya definitely set the precedent for big powers’ sophisticated military intervention in the Arab sheikdoms. Importantly, two Arab States, Qatar and UAE had supported the NATO Airstrikes, both theoretically and practically. They supported the resolutions moved against Libya at the regional forums and also sent their fighter jets to participate in the NATO no-fly-zone mission. It seems that when they were supporting the Western powers agenda in Libya, they are not realizing the spillover effect of the Libyan revolt on these states political system. There are chances that the people of these states would ask their rulers that if you support democratic movement in Libya, why you are maintaining undemocratic political system in their own countries.
The referendum in Sudan entailing independence of South Sudan, toppling of autocratic leaders in Tunisia and Egypt were major political events in the Afro-Arab world since the beginning of 2011. The indigenous movements, maybe having covert external backing, accomplished their objectives in these three states. Conversely, in Libya, the rebellion forces were only successful after the gigantic -sustained airstrikes of NATO forces against the Gaddafi defensive forces.
The repercussions of the external powers physical involvement in the Libyan imbroglio could not be ignored. The alarming puzzle here is the possibility of civil war in Libya. The chants in Benghazi and Tripoli, such as, “Martyr’s Blood Should Not Be Spent in Vain” signify the raising the specter of an orgy of revenge. The revenge brigades may unleash tribal rivalries which escalate into open conflict and descend into mob justice, chaos and anarchy.