The fruits of Østupid’s interference in the Middle East might already be ripening. The subject matter here is not Libya, but it is Tunisia. As you should be aware Tunisia held elections over last weekend, and the party with the biggest percentage of votes was Ennhada which is loosely associated with Muslim Brotherhood. The front man, who is most likely to end up as President is a man who was in the UK in exile until he returned to Tunisia. He has been showing a moderate face to the world. He claims that Ennhada is moderate and that they will encompass the many reforms already in place (such as allowing women to vote). The alternative in Tunisia is a centre-left or probably extreme left wing group.
I do not doubt that Zine Ben Ali had to go because his government was corrupt and the people of Tunisia were suffering in similar ways to the people in Libya. In other words people were imprisoned on the slightest of pretexts. I can argue the same against Hosni Muburak, that the Egyptians found themselves in a similar position.
What all three countries have in common happens to be that the dictator in charge would not allow the people representation in a democratic way, and that they had forbidden political parties. Keep this in mind please – if Ennhada, or Muslim Brotherhood had been allowed to form their political party, over time people would probably have stopped supporting them as soon as they realised that they were giving up freedoms. The Libya LIFG faced the same difficulties as Muslim Brotherhood and Ennhada.
To our western minds it is difficult to comprehend why the people who voted for these representatives have done so, but that is because we do not totally understand what makes them tick. Some of the media stories immediately after the election might give some clue as to why Ennhada won so much of the vote. It was identification with the people because of the struggles of fighting against a corrupt regime. This is certainly true of Tunisia. Other than that the only other explanation is the fact that there has been a rise in fundamentalism within the Islamic countries, and the identification with Ennhada is a part of that fundamentalism. Even so, within Ennhada there are fundamentalists as well as moderates.
However, the warning bells are ringing about one of the Ennahada leaders, and he seems to be a man who is good with the taqiyyah. You can read about him in a post at Big Peace.
The interference by Østupid in Tunisia and Egypt was unwarranted. I keeps saying that Libya is different, and it is because the Libyan people in Benghazi asked for help in their struggle against their hated late dictator. Neither in Tunisia or in Egypt did the people face having bombs from aircraft raining down upon them, let alone Scud missiles, and the other forms of missiles that were used during the civil war. Only in Syria and in Libya have there been those snipers who have taken pot shots and killed hundreds who were protesting (and some were not even involved in protesting)… so yes there are big differences between them.
Libya is also different because, despite the screams coming from some very ill-informed commentators, Libya always had Sharia Law implemented. The system of law itself in Libya was two-pronged, using Italian and French codes for commercial purposes as well as Sharia for “domestic” purposes. When Mr. Jalil spoke about Sharia underpinning the Constitution he was saying nothing more than was necessary to instil confidence in the hardline Islamists who might have been wanting something else again. The reports I read indicated that he spoke only to the subject of interest rates and allowing polygamy which is not allowed in Libya at the moment. In other words it would be a relaxation of the present laws, not a hardening of them that was indicated.
What the ill-informed commentators do not comprehend is the actual history of Libya. When Idris became leader and was installed as king in Libya, after they won their fight to be free of Italy, Sharia underpinned the Constitution that was put in place. Under Gadhafi this did not change, but Gadhafi failed to introduce some reforms that were thought to be necessary, and he made up some of his own rules.
Libya is also different because Gadhafi had turned the country into a Marxist “paradise”. He even took businesses and private property away from the wealthy and gave those businesses to others (his cronies), and of course his cronies became very wealthy off the backs of the people of Libya. In an economy such as Libya’s it will be hard to get rid of many aspects of the Marxism that was put in place: free hospital and medical care, free dental, free education, free water and electricity. Yet the people have gained a bigger freedom – the right to breathe and talk without ending up being tortured in prison.
Because of that Western interference the Middle East is now less stable, and it is not Libya that is the cause of that instability, at this point in time. It is Tunisia and it is Egypt. There is a very real danger that either country can lurch towards a new fundamentalism, and there is an equal danger that these countries could end up swinging hard left, meaning that they could swing towards Russia and China.
In Libya the big losers were Russia, China, the African League and Iran. These were the backers of Gadhafi and they are the losers because of their attitudes. Russia and China played a merry little game in the UN, condemning NATO based upon the taqiyya of Gadhafi. The alleged deaths as a result of NATO bombing was never true, even though some people certainly died. The winners are those who backed the Libyan people: France, the UK, Canada, and to a lesser extent the USA. Germany is amongst the losers, but Turkey, because of the diplomatic role it played is one of the winners. I remain full of admiration for the role played by Turkey during some of the worst of what took place, this is despite the fact that I do not like Erdogan.
Whilst Libya as a nation is more settled, there are very high stakes in play in regard to Egypt and Tunisia. Iran wants control via Egypt and I fear that the Muslim Brotherhood could repeat the success of Ennahada in Tunisia. It might depend upon the perception of the people who actually vote to put an assembly in place, but I think that it is something that we need to consider. My biggest fear remains Mr Potato Head, or el-Baradei. He is not out of the picture and so he remains the “one most likely” to want to form an alliance with Iran. He is the man who is well acquainted with taqiyyah, and he is a man not to be trusted.