Free Markets, Free People

Libya – Now what?

After months, not weeks, of a NATO bombing campaign, it appears that the regime of Libyan strong-man Moammar Gaddafi is about to end.  Rebels have advanced into Tripoli, the capital, and Gaddafi is said to be cornered in his compound.  When last heard from his advice to his remaining supporters was to take to the streets:

In a brief broadcast on state television, Gaddafi made what came across as a desperate plea for support. “Go out and take your weapons,” the Libyan leader said. “All of you, there should be no fear.”

But the opposite seems to be what his loyalists are doing:

But reporters traveling with rebel forces said Gaddafi’s defenses were melting away faster than had been expected. There were reports of entire units fleeing as rebels entered the capital from the south, east and west, and his supporters inside the city tearing off their uniforms, throwing down their weapons and attempting to blend into the population.

A Tripoli-based activist said the rebels had secured the seaport, where several hundred reinforcements for the opposition had arrived by boat, and were in the process of evicting Gaddafi loyalists from the Mitiga air base on the eastern edge of the city.

There are also reports that a safe haven is or is still being negotiated for Gaddafi.  South Africa has been identified as a participant in those negotiations with Zimbabwe and the Congo as two possible destinations.

Obviously Gadaffi’s reign is within hours, if not days of ending.

The question then becomes, “now what”?  While this is supposedly a flowering of the Arab spring, there have been disturbing reports of Islamist radicals in leadership positions within the Rebel alliance.   Additionally, there have been various councils and groups claiming leadership.   Once Gadaffi is ousted and the capitol taken, the hard part begins – governing.   Who or what band or group is likely to emerge as the leadership group.   While there is a lot of talk about “revolutionary youth”, etc.,  in cases like this the most ruthless and best organized group usually take charge.

The “Twitter revolution” started by “revolutionary youth” in Egypt has since yielded to the Muslim Brotherhood – a well organized Islamist group which has seemingly reached an accommodation with the army and will apparently take power there after the next election.  The secular and democratic activists have been pushed to the side.

There’s also the question of “now what” for the West.   Does NATO tip its hat to the rebels and wish them good luck, or does it plan on some sort of post-Gaddafi role?   France has a historic interest in Libya.   Will European nations simply walk away or will they attempt to help craft a solution in Libya?

Finally, is the collapse of the Gadaffi regime a vindication of Obama’s “leading from behind” strategy?  It certainly forced NATO to do more than has in quite some time and the campaign got the desired result.   Does that make it a good strategy for the future, or a one-of-a-kind campaign that got lucky given the weakness of the target and the geography of the nation?

All of these questions and more will be answered in the next few weeks.  One has to wonder how many of the answers will come as a surprise.


Twitter: @McQandO

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23 Responses to Libya – Now what?

  • Or better, “Now who?”.
    Andy McCarthy thinks it will be some VERY bad folks, indeed.

  • The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all. Meanwhile, the United States has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya. At this pivotal and historic time, the TNC should continue to demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya. A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.
    The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people. Going forward, the United States will continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC. We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. And we will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy.
    –Statement from the White House

    That is rife with incredible naivete, so typical of the “soft power” idiots in the Obami.  It will be interesting to see in whose hands “the future of Libya” really is.
    Another thing that will be interesting is where the fairly sophisticated weapons Libya has will wind up, and against who they will be used.

  • Democracy – they keep using that word, I do not think it means what it will mean in Libya. 
    Then again, I do not think it means what the Obami think it means in the first place.

  • Well that went so well they must be feeling good now that they can move on to R2P Syria and protect all those good folks doing actual dying there.

    • We want that to take many months there too, so the Muslim Brotherhood can make sure they have strong representation  and ascend to power when Assad goes.
      Think of it!  We can have Arab Spring (kinda like Springtime for Hitler) and democracy (Islamic Theocracy) all across the arc of the southern Mediterranean – and then if the Turks would just see the light, they could all get back to the business of finally taking Vienna.  Insha’Allah.
      I think they’ll take Paris first though.

  • I couldn’t resist seeing what your reaction to this good news would be.  First, there is too much fear of Islamic fundamentalists.  Most are not like Bin Laden and do have to be part of any future government.   Second, President Obama is in many ways continuing President Bush’s goal of regime change — perhaps a better kind of regime change.   When he last week called on Assad to leave office, that signaled that Libya was about to fall, and Obama was to continue the strategy.  His strategy is far less naive than that of President Bush who thought the US alone could guide and force change to the region.  It’s a realistic, multi-national strategy that shows much deeper understanding of the region and its dangers than that of his predecessor.  I chuckle at the fears of the “Muslim Brotherhood.”  Islamophobia has faded, this knee jerk fear of Islam is obsolete — Bin Laden’s approach has been rejected by most Muslims, even the fundamentalists.   Yeah, you’ll have a fear terrorists, but they’re the minority, no need for such fear.   Muslim Brotherhood will be part of the future of most of these countries, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it.  Oh, you might support dictators longer, but they are going to fall sooner or later, and the longer they last the stronger extremists will be, and the friendlier the US is to dictators, the more hostile new governments will be.  Obama’s chosen a rational, realistic policy, and he’s signaled that it continues beyond Libya to Syria (and likely beyond Syria).  It isn’t guaranteed to work, but it’s far better than the approach chosen by President Bush (though both had similar diagnoses of what the problems of the region are).

    •  First, there is too much fear of Islamic fundamentalists

      >>> Just like in Egypt right?  Tool.

    • I chuckle at the fears of the “Muslim Brotherhood.” 

      >>>> Yeah, just ask Israel how that’s working out for them.  Oh wait, I know how you feel about that.  Probably were cheering the attacks on.  My lord, you were so astoundingly wrong on Egypt and you have the gall to drive by and try to gloat on this even before we know how things shake out???

      Yeah, you’ll have a fear terrorists, but they’re the minority, no need for such fear

      >>>>  The men who want to kill you, your kids, and rape your wife are a minority also, but you lock your doors against them just the same right? Why such fear in that case?   Idiot.

    • ” Obama’s chosen a rational, realistic policy, and he’s signaled that it continues beyond Libya to Syria ”

      So we can count on US airstrikes against Syria (and likely beyond). Yeah, that realistic policy should guarantee us a new found respect and friendship in the Arab world.

      In case you have forgotten, Obama said his ‘realistic’ policy would get rid of Khadaffi in days, not weeks, and prevent loss of life.  

    • Just so I have it straight…
      Republicans killing Muslims = Islamophobia
      Democrats getting someone else to kill Muslims = Rational policy

      My, quite the real-politik we have going on in moose country.

    • Per Your Points:
      1) Fear of Islamic Fundamentalism: Yeah, i have a real problem with people who want to kill homosexuals, wrap women in burkhas, and live by Sharia law. And i really have a prblem when that way of life is forced upon someone. Don’t you???
      2) Obama’s “better” kind of regime change: How’s that working in Iran, or Syria, or even in Egypt? And by the way, how is Americ’a prestige in these countries? Obama was supposed to bring our stature up in the middle east? Is that working? Not so much.
      Yeah, we dense righties just don’t know when we have it good. Just bend over to Obama, like you do, and all will be well.

    • “When he last week called on Assad to leave office, that signaled that Libya was about to fall, and Obama was to continue the strategy.
      Ah, another of his majesty’s “actions by speech”, a truly amazing man he is, solving one problem after another by talking about it.   Pity his domestic bull doesn’t seem to take effect in the same way eh?
      “Yeah, you’ll have a fear terrorists, but they’re the minority, no need for such fear.  ”
      If ALL arabs embraced terrorism it wouldn’t BE terrorism, it would be a national policy called war.
      Let’s do a little math, I know you’re not a scientific guy, but see if you can grasp how this works and what makes terrorism so effective.
      How many terrorists exactly, did it require on 9/11 to kill 2996 people?
      How many terrorists (out of ‘Arab Spring Egypt’) did it require the other day in Israel to kill 7 (two of them children) and hospitalize 40?
      How many terrorists died in the Khobar towers – how many innocent people dead or injured?
      Hey, what the hell, how many whackjob Norwegians were involved in the Oslo bombing and massacre last month (a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist).
      How many have to die before they ARE a threat we need to be concerned with?  Does some of YOUR family have to die before terrorist are a threat?  You hypocritical know-nothing bloviating  jackass.
      Don’t ever whine about how we’re destroying YOUR kids future again, you’ve lost that privilege with your hand waving away of demonstrable danger to others unprotected by the remoteness of life in Maine.

    • Don’t fear religious fundamentalists in Libya, but make sure to demonize Michelle Bachmann at home…how do people reconcile these ideas?

  • Finally, is the collapse of the Gadaffi regime a vindication of Obama’s “leading from behind” strategy?  It certainly forced NATO to do more than has in quite some time and the campaign got the desired result.   Does that make it a good strategy for the future, or a one-of-a-kind campaign that got lucky given the weakness of the target and the geography of the nation

    >>> Lets see what happens first. Because make no mistake – Baracky supported the rebels without even knowing who they were. If it’s more bad guys in power, that’s on him.  Lets see if Tripoli descends into a bloodbath of infighting and reprisals before we vindicate anything.

  • {chuckle} You dense righties are so intent on seeing the bad things in everything that happens when Obama, peace be upon him, is in office.

    Look, I’ve explained this. Their system over there in those wog Arab countries is anachronistic. Their demographics drive change. It’s the anti tea party. Stop laughing. Those are not empty, meaningless phrases I got off some pundit’s site. Stop saying that.

    If you just embraced the spiritual side of life, as I have, you would be happy and content with all this. You would see the wonder of Obama’s christlike visage, the wisdom of post-modernism, and how fine a life it is to be a low-paid, overworked professor at a fourth rate college in a small town surrounded by moose herds even though you have an advanced degree and a brilliant, analytical mind with godlike powers of political science. And you would see the need for brilliant elites with advanced degrees to run society for the good of all.

    See, that’s what going to happen in Libya. Or maybe the fundamentalists will take over because of the neo-conservatives still around in Washington, who will no doubt try to sabotage Obama’s work. Or maybe it will descend into anarchy because of the influence of those same neo-conservatives, in which case the fault should be traced back to Reagan. Stop laughing.

    The one thing you can be sure of is this: whatever happens, it will turn out that I predicted it. And I’ll come back here and crow about having predicted it. And it’s not true that I’ve stayed away because I have had nothing recently to come here and crow about because Obama is looking like the worst possible combination of Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. Obama thinks like me, so he can’t possibly be making a hash of things. He just can’t. Stop laughing, I said.

    Obama is almost certain to be re-elected, as I’ve been saying for three years now. Especially if some Neanderthal like Perry is nominated to run against him. I’m sure of it. Just as I was sure the Democrats would have trouble holding the House last fall, so don’t you dare bring up all those predictions I made about the Republicans only getting two dozen seats. They don’t count. I’m sure I made a different prediction about the Republicans possibly taking back the House, even though I can’t seem to find a link about it. I seem to remember that I made that prediction in early November, about November 3 as I recall.

    And if it isn’t Perry, it will probably be Palin. Because you hormone-driven righties just melt at her full lips and ample bosom, especially when she winks through those naughty librarian glasses of hers. How you can prefer her to a dynamic, intelligent woman like Nancy Pelosi or Debbie Wasserman Shultz is just beyond me.

    Why can’t the GOP nominate someone like Jon Huntsman. Now there’s a Republican I could vote for! If Obama weren’t running against him, I mean. Huntsman is the best chin puller I’ve seen from the GOP in a long time, and he agrees with me about how climate change means we have to increase government power to stop it right now, and he is not afraid to tell you creationists what not. Because I just know the ex-military types that post here are all creationists at heart. It doesn’t matter that you never said so, or even that you deny it. I know. Just like Huntsman knows how Perry is one too. Even though Perry has never said so. You can just look at that cowboy face and see it. Oooo, I just don’t know if I could take four years of Perry. I’ve just recovered from that cowboy Bush.

    • Islamophobia has faded, this knee jerk fear of Islam is obsolete —

      Hard sometimes to tell the parody from the self-parody…

      • “Islamophobia has faded, this knee jerk fear of Islam is obsolete”

        Or, in the words of his hero JC,  “that inordinate fear of communism  Islam”.

    • I always lose my thought process when OS mentions SP’s full lips and ample bosom…uh where was I again?

  • Scott Erb: “Chuckles at fears of Muslim Brotherhood”
    Me: “Chuckles at how easily his head can pop off with the same guns used by the Muslim Brotherhood”
    The only thing funny here is the how the 2012 election will play out, and how the Republican candidate will react to character assassination by the Left (assuming that his/her reaction will actually work)

  • Leaving concerns about what Libya will be without Gh… Kha… however his name is spelled, I’m happy he’s almost certainly gone and hope the rest of his life is short and painful.  We’ve been wanting to be rid of the SOB for nearly thirty years.

    Good riddance.

    • I’ve been flying recently on the idea that a mellowed out old whackjob like Khaddafy is better than a young aggressive whackjob like Amhadinnajad – in other words, an old Khaddafi is more likely safer for the world than a young Khaddafi.
      Now – there’s no telling what we’re about to get, and sitting next to a resurgent islamist Egypt….I’m not feeling positive about the potential future outcome.  People who’s attitude you can readjust with some well spent buy off cash or a covert action are cheaper than people who’s attitude you have to adjust via a prolonged military campaign.