The most astounding news is coming out of Libya. Two of Moammar Ghadafi’s sons have been captured, the Palace guard have surrendered (as planned, I believe), and no one seems to know the whereabouts of the little tin pot murderous dictator. He most definitely has not been killed, and the photo that appeared on Twitter is a fake. The opposition forces have entered Tripoli, they have taken the base used by the regime’s elite troops, and they have planted the old flag at Green Square. This square has been renamed as Martyr’s square.
The situation with Libya is far more complex than that of Egypt, Tunisia and Syria. The people who formed the opposition came from a more diverse range of individuals. Yes, it is true that there are some individuals who are Islamists. However, it is not possible to totally align them with Al Qaeda. Now that the opposition is well on the way to taking Tripoli, we now enter a very delicate period where it is important to keep Al Qaeda out of Libya’s business. This will only happen if the NATO forces do not enter Libyan territory.
The thing that I have admired the most about those behind the NTC has been their determination to ensure that Libya does not become a second Iraq. To avoid this it is important that they embrace the security forces that had worked for the regime. It is also important that the U.N. avoids sending in any forces in an effort to secure the country.
Any talk of a “fears of a blood bath” is in my view quite premature. Whilst it is true that Libya is made up of various tribes, it is also true that they are homogenous in other ways – they are Libyans and they are majority Muslims, who are Sufi rather than either Shia or Sunni. The Islamists in Libya tend towards the Wahibbi school, and that in itself explains why some have indeed ended up in Iraq to fight. What is more important here is that their struggle has not been on religious grounds, but on political grounds, and there has been a nationalist fervour.
Something that you might not have known about Libya is that Daffy Duck had changed the name of the nation to : “The Socialist Republic of Libya”, aligning the country with Russia, Cuba and Venezuela. However, for at least the people of Benghazi there is no desire to remain a socialist republic. They want a country that operates as a Democracy. These are people who have lived in the West, in countries such as the U.K., the USA and even Australia. They have tasted the democracy of these countries, and that is what they desire for Libya. If they can put together a constitution that enables such a democracy, then more power to them. However, there is no guarantees when it comes to a country that is based upon Islam (Turkey almost made it as a democracy but then Erdogan was elected).
The threats that have been made by Daffy Duck have been hollow. It is true that he placed snipers on the rooftops in Tripoli, and that the snipers were taking pot shots at the citizens. When you read about the more than 300 that were allegedly killed and the more than 1000 wounded in Tripoli, keep in mind that this was not the result of any NATO action, but of Daffy Duck loyalists firing upon their own people. The video footage that I have seen has not shown any shooting violence, instead there has been crowds cheering the opposition forces as they approached Tripoli. Also keep in mind that there was shooting inside the house of Mohammed Gadhafi.
At this point in time the media has not mentioned the whereabouts of Khamis Gadhafi – did he die in Zlitan? Neither has there been any mention of the whereabouts of Saadi Gadhafi, and the exact whereabouts of Daffy Duck is unknown. I think that it is best to ignore any reports that state that three of the Daffy Duck sons are being held, because so far I know of only 2 that have been captured.
Something else that is important here is the context of the people singing out “God is Greatest”. Although we identify this with jihad it is not always the case. During this conflict, there was one incident where a wounded doctor was being stood over by a regime goon (soldier) and the demand was that he acknowledge the greatness of Daffy Duck. The young doctor refused but instead he stated that God is greatest, meaning of course that he owed no such loyalty to Moammar Gadhafi. This is the same kind of context that has to be applied to those Iranians who were shouting from their rooftops as they condemned Khamenei and Ahmanutjob. The context for the Libyans in Tripoli is simply “I believe in God”, and their acknowledgement that God is above man. We know of course that in other circumstances that this context can be distorted. I hope and pray that in the case of the Libyans that they do not take up any jihad against the West.
It is also important to look to the historical context of the whole conflict. In doing so, one gets a hint of the religious background, and especially the loyalty to the former head of Libya, king Idris. This is tied to the Sanusi Army which Idris led during the second world war. The historical context here is that Idris made a deal with the British and the French during the second world war to help defeat the Italians under Mussolini, and in return the British and the French would help liberate them from being a colony of Italy. If you go back in time however, the grandfather of Idris was very much the Islamist, yet Idris was more of a pragmatist. The variant of Islam under the Idris back to his grandfather was the Sanusi school which is a variant of the Sufi Islam, but with a mixture of the Wahibbi school. This historical context helps to explain why those in Benghazi were keen to call upon NATO to help and why they were requesting the implementation of the no-fly zone, but were insisting on a policy of “no foreign boots on the ground” (at least not visible boots). It has not been the USA who have had people within Libya, it has been the French and the British that have provided guidance to the opposition forces, and who helped to spear head this very tricky operation.
At this point in time I am not covering the assassination of General Younes. There are many questions to be asked about that incident, and still more questions to be asked about the loyalties of Younes – was he in fact a spy working for Daffy Duck? This will be a subject at some future date.