I just found this news article, and the video attached is well worth a listen. It is a very great summary of the Libyan situation. It is a wars and all summary of the situation and the outlook for Libya. It details some of the possible pitfalls as well as how these can be avoided.
It would be very wrong to believe that now that Daffy Duck is on the run that everything is rosy. It is not the case at all. There are many possible stumbling blocks due to the nature of Libyan tribalism.
From the beginning of the protests when the NTC was formed, the people in charge were always mindful of the tribalism, and the things that can divide. They now have the task of reaching out and becoming inclusive in order to avoid what took place in Iraq. From the beginning, prior to the NATO involvement and prior to the UN resolution, the NTC understood that it was important not to have foreign boots on the ground. As a result they have insisted that there was to be no boots on the ground, even though they asked for the imposing of the no-fly zone.
What took place in Libya should never have happened. From the beginning of the protests Daffy Duck and his regime backers (namely his sons Saif and Saadi), had determined to use force against those who opposed them. The planned in advance of the protests and they brought in the mercenaries from Chad and Mali. When the fort at Benghazi was stormed (after several protesters had been killed) it was discovered to be housing those mercenaries. At that stage the people in Benghazi were already at fever pitch. The man who killed himself when he took action to breech the wall was someone who was not an Islamist, had spurned the radical imams of the town, but got very angry when Daffy’s forces killed innocent people. This is a motivation that is hard for us to comprehend, that someone who would not get involved in a violent movement ended his life in an act of violence, for the sake of others. The mood in Benghazi was such that it is likely that residents of the town did some harm to those soldiers, but the image given was that the soldiers who were captured were well-treated.
Throughout the months of conflict not one journalist was harmed by the opposition forces, but…. journalists who were with the oppositions forces and captured by Daffy goons, were mistreated, and ended up in prison until they were released. Several journalists were killed by Daffy goons.
Whilst the fighting had continued in towns near Benghazi a lot of attention was given to Misrata where Daffy goons tried to get the upper hand. The people in Misrata, like those in Benghazi were an interesting mix. Many of the men who were fighting were professionals such as engineers and teachers. They did what they had to do to protect their loved ones. There are many stories out of Misrata, but one that caught my attention was that of the people who chose to pick up the bodies of the dead loyalist soldiers and to bury them in a respectful way, and to keep records on the dead so that their relatives could claim them after the fighting was finished. It was in Misrata where Daffy Duck used missiles and landmines, some of the mines looked like toys which were meant to be picked up by children. The snipers in Misrata killed young children and injured many more. In one incident a mother and her children died in an attack upon her car. There were stories of how the Daffy goons had gathered up people from the surrounding villages and used them as shields or hostages in the town square. The Daffy goons regularly fired upon people moving in and out of the medical clinics. They fired upon those driving the ambulances and they often killed the doctors who had gone out to attend to the wounded in the field. On the other hand the medical staff treated both loyalists and oppostion without any form of discrimination.
These stories out of Misrata are the reason that I tended to reject the counter claims that it was the opposition that was doing a number of bad things. There were counter claims of looting etc. Yet, I have not seen verifiable evidence for those counter claims, not even mention of the villages. It is as if the counter-claims were nothing more than propaganda from the Daffy Duck regime that was meant to put the wind up the villagers so that they would resist joining the opposition. The jury is out with regard to those stories. I have not made up my mind as to whether or not they should be outright disregarded.
For months the situation was at a stalemate, but there was a breakthrough. That breakthrough was the assassination of General Younes. It sounds strange to say that, but I suspect that General Younes was a double agent. The people who were asked to escort him back to Benghazi from the front line were the people responsible for his assassination. They acted without authority to kill him. They acted as rogues. Whilst it looked like this one action was a sign of a fracturing of the opposition, it seems to have been more of a catalyst for the beginning of the end game.
A few of the other things that happened around the same time were: (1) victory in Misrata and almost an end to the shelling and bombing of a city that endured a most dreadful and deadly siege. (2) the supply of weapons to Misrata from Qatar. (3) a weapons drop to opposition forces in the western mountains by the French. Each of these things gave a new impetus for the road ahead to Tripoli. The surge that came from the weapons drop was like a fire. It kept on spreading. At first it was like a trickle and then it got faster and faster and the opposition continued their approach to Tripoli. A very decisive victory in Zawiyah, which had been in opposition hands in the early days prior to Daffy once again getting the upper hand, led to the push towards Tripoli. By that stage the supply lines to Tripoli had been cut off.
The action, over the weekend began as a co-ordinated attack from 3 directions. One group came by boat from Misrata, whilst another group, also from Misrata but via Zlitan continued their push into Tripoli after finally securing Zlitan, and the group that had captured Zawiyah pushed towards Tripoli. However, without the careful planning which involved the imams giving the signal none of this could have been successful. The moment had arrived for the uprising within Tripoli. The signal was the singing of the old national anthem. The uprising began as the outside opposition forces arrived.
Tripoli has fallen but Daffy Duck and his sons are still at large. As a result there are still pockets of resistance. On top of that there is the danger that Daffy could access those stockpiles of deadly weapons that he never gave up. A lot now depends upon negotiations with the tribal leaders within the town of Sirte. The Opposition forces are trying to negotiate a surrender. If this happens then it will help to pave the way for a final end of the Daffy Duck regime.
Once Daffy Duck is gone, it will be time to get on with the reconstruction of Libya. It will take time and it is within this period that it is important to ensure that Libya does not go the way of Iraq. Any new government needs to be inclusive and that means a place for the minority Islamists. It is more likely that there will be strife if they are left out. The Islamists have suffered at the hands of the Daffy Duck regime, just as other individuals who opposed Daffy Duck have suffered. It is also important that there is no revenge towards those who remained loyal to Daffy Duck. If Libya can achieve these things, then the end result will be better than expected. If, however, they exclude the Islamists, or they take revenge upon individuals then an Iraq situation will be the inevitable result.
There can be no illusions about what might happen in the future, but we can surely hope and pray that Libya will become a shining light for future democracy in the Middle East.