Free Markets, Free People

Will Libya go the way of Egypt?

It is now fairly widely acknowledged that what was hoped for in Egypt after its “Arab spring” revolution began is increasingly unlikely to happen.  Namely the emergence of a secular and democratic government which will bring stability, peace and prosperity to its nation.  The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t unexpected to those who understood the dynamics of such revolutions.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  Power does as well.  When the Mubarak regime fell, it created just such a power vacuum. And just as with nature, something was bound to fill that vacuum.  In situations like the one in Egypt, that’s usually the most organized and ruthless group available.  Unsurprisingly, that group was the Muslim Brotherhood, and Egypt, like a good number of other states in the area, appears to be headed down the long road to Islamic fundamentalism where Islam and sharia dominate the culture with the usual results.

As Libya goes through the final throes of ousting a dictator, one has to ask what the dominant group might be to fill the power vacuum created there.   We know the Transnational National Council (TNC) is that supposed vehicle for taking power.  But who are they?

Claire Lopez at Big Peace does a little research and gives us an idea.  First, she starts by reading the proposed constitution put forward by the TNC and points to the reality that document promises :

Part of that reality is actually on full display with the online posting of Libya’s “Draft Constitutional Charter for the Transitional Stage. As the equally level-headed Dr. Andrew Bostom wrote in his 22 August 2011 posting, “the salient feature of Libya’s new draft constitution is Part 1, Article 1: Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).” [emphasis added]

For those still unsure of what is actually happening in Libya, that Article, which places Islamic law (shariah) at the very top of the constitution, means that principles Jeffersonian republicans consider foundational to a democratic system—such as equality, individual freedom, pluralism, tolerance, minority protections, consent of the governed, natural rights/natural law derived through exercise of human reason, independent (secular) judiciary, and a vibrant free press—even if mentioned later in the draft text, have no real validity. It is what comes first and is stated explicitly in the constitution that carries the real weight. In Libya’s case, that means Islamic law.

Among some that revelation will elicit the reply, “well we don’t know that.  We don’t know that such a declaration will really have the effect that critics are claiming”.   Of course, you have to deny the reality in the vast majority of states in the Middle East where Islam is the state religion and sharia the legal system to say such a thing.

Secondly, Libya is a country with no real experience with western democracy, philosophy or ideals.  For at least 40 years, individual rights have been trampled.  “Natural law” consisted of Gaddafi dictating and the people obeying.  The organs of such a hoped for revolutionary change simply don’t exist in Libya.  But what does exist is an organization of Islamists bent on taking power.  What one has to realize is they believe what they are going to try to do is what is best for both the country and the people.  And they have help:

Those taking over are no less a cause for concern: as Walid Phares points out in his insightful Fox News analysis of 23 August 2011, the Libyan TNC is a motley crew comprising “former diplomats, bureaucrats, and military officers from the old regime” as well as “politicians and leaders from movements and groups from the political left, Marxists, Socialists, Arab Nationalists, liberals and Islamists.” As in Egypt and elsewhere across the region, however, it is the proponents of shariah who are the best organized and most determined to impose their agenda in the post-revolutionary milieu. Their push for power in Libya already is underway, openly supported by Yousuf al-Qaradawi and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and will accelerate from positions within the TNC as its grip on the country is consolidated.

Emphasis mine and an argument I’ve been making prominently since Egypt.  There is nothing at all to indicate that it will be any different in Libya. What most in the West, who have a different take on the involvement of religion in everyday life means, is that Islam is woven into the very fabric of the life of most adherents and is more than something they do once a week.   It is going to be interesting to see how NATO and the US handle this, but when all is said and done, I expect to see another “Islamic Republic” in place, mostly hostile to the West and Israel and with its people again under the boot heel of another form of dictatorship – this time religious in nature.


Twitter: @McQandO

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11 Responses to Will Libya go the way of Egypt?

  • It bids fair to be WORSE in Libya.  There is at least in Egypt SOME sea-anchor in the military.  There is no such thing in Libya.  I will be a full-tilt race to dominance by the most ruthless, and they will be Islamists.  I see no other force that could compete.

  • Nah, we don’t need to fear Islamic state sponsored terrorism – Professor Jackwagon has informed us we’re being silly to think such things happen!
    (somewhere on the streets of Tripoli an (all male) dancing chorus is warming up)
    Libya was having trouble
    What a sad, sad story
    Needed a new government to restore
    Its former glory
    What oh what was it
    What law could it be?
    We looked around and then we found
    The law for you and me

    And now it’s…
    Springtime for Sharia and Libya
    Benghazi is happy and gay!
    We’re headed to law the way twas meant to be
    Religious law!, from the 12th century!
    Springtime for Sharia and Libya
    The Caliphate is our fate once more!
    Springtime for Sharai and Libya
    Watch out, Europe
    We’re going on tour!
    Springtime for Sharia and Libya…
    Winter for Christian and Jews!
    Springtime for Sharia and Africa!!!!!!
    Come on, Jihadis
    Our next stop is France!

    • “Benghazi is happy and gay!”
      Hardly the latter…!!!

      • Yeah, I know, I thought that was priceless so I kept it.
        A double slam – for those who took a perfectly good word for their own, and bollocksed the language and in so doing distorted all previous literary history.

      • Aside – assuming either usage, I doubt Benghazi would be that way for long – the population is surely about to get a good dose of “oops, did we really do that?”…..just like we’re getting.

  • I don’t know why you’re such a gloomy gus.  I mean, the Iranians overthrew the Shah and look how well that worked out for them.  I can go on, of course: when the Russians ousted the Czar, decades of peace, prosperity and freedom followed.  Oh, those were the days, eh?  Closer to home, we have Cuba, whose people have been living the good life since ejecting the odious Batista. 

    / sarc

    We can hope that a Washington will step forth in Libya as we hope that another may yet step forth in Egypt.  The problem is, as you point out, that the people of those countries have little or no experience with liberal government as we understand it, and hence no particular desire for it.  The best that might be hoped for is a rather less draconian dictatorship, one that merely locks up demonstrators rather than gunning them down in the streets.

    For the lefties, I have to ask why they think that Egypt and Libya will go well when they swore (and swear) up and down that Iraq, with the guiding influence of the American military, will not.

    • For the lefties, I have to ask why they think that Egypt and Libya will go well when they swore (and swear) up and down that Iraq, with the guiding influence of the American military, will not.

      Because they believe that anything attempted or supported by their political opponents is evil and cannot possibly produce good results. Only collectivists and noble savages can produce good results.

      • It bears remembering that seeing Saddam drug out of his spidy hole caused QaDaffy to promptly soil himself and give up his WMD program (the nuclear part of which was further along that out intel guys were saying).
        Without that, and the purple fingers of Iraqis who REALLY wanted self-determination, none of this Arab Strung stuff would be REMOTELY possible.  We could NEVER permit Islamists to have Libyan nukes, regardless of who we had to prop up.
        It is WAY bad enough that they are going to get (likely HAVE) missiles from the Libyan arsenals that will shoot down airliners very nicely.

        • “It is WAY bad enough that they are going to get (likely HAVE) missiles from the Libyan arsenals that will shoot down airliners very nicely.”
          Didn’t we spend a lot of munitions on wrecking these?  Damn I hope so.  Not that Uncle Vlad or Cousin Mahmoud won’t sell them the finest Russian or Iranian gear (giggle) there is available to replace it.

    • “The best that might be hoped for is a rather less draconian dictatorship, one that merely locks up demonstrators rather than gunning them down in the streets.”
      What we’ll get (they’ll get) is an administration that hangs homosexuals on cranes in the ‘freedom square’ these countries all seem to contain, forces women to walk around in tents with viewslits cut in them, stones people for adultery (in all it’s various definitions), insists on male witnesses (presumably non participants) to any rape, applies marginal toleration to non-muslims, probably destroys various archeological and religious works from centuries past that aren’t acceptable to their religious aesthetic, is intolerant to farmers and consumers of Sus domesticus, etc, etc, etc.
      The chance a ‘Washington’ will appear in this is as likely as the force of gravity to suddenly reverse itself.  Were he too appear, by some far fetched chance, they’d kill him shortly after he was done making his first speech (after a fair trail of course, I’m sure).  And I almost think I’d prefer an administration that ONLY gunned down demonstrators on rare occasion as opposed to one that rioted at government behest when people in foreign countries drew cartoons that they found offensive and issued death warrants for same.

  • I think its very hard for liberals (in the broad sense) to NOT use Islam as the basis for a constitution in the ME.
    These countries are nearly mono-cultural and Islam is very dominant. Even very bad Muslims, i.e. basically agnostics, will claim to “of course” be Islamic…
    So, I don’t panic when I see it being used as part of the constitution, but it does prove a problem…once you agree to use it, the hardliners have the leverage.