Libya: Post-Gadhafi

It seems interesting to see recent developments in Libya. I should start out by saying that I oppose violence and do not celebrate death. However, in this situation, I’m glad that a dictator’s rule is finally over. Looking back, I remember feeling conflicted over our involvement in Libya.

In February, when the situation first broke over the news I felt glad for the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya as they used social media to overthrew their respective dictators. The first two nations went through a relatively bloodless revolution, with Zine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak leaving in shame as their armies refused to fire upon their fellow citizens. Libya was different, I witnessed peaceful protesters being gunned down by Col. Gaddafi’s soldiers and his son Saif al-Islam Gaddhafi, crowing about how they would hunt their own people like rats. When a provisional council was formed in the eastern city of Benghazi, Gaddhafi’s government responded by sending their tank divisions and air force to butcher them. Gaddhafi himself stated that there “would be no mercy” for the rebels. At that point in the insurrection I hoped for many things.

President Obama has made it a point to defend the rights of people across the globe should they be threatened by genocidal forces. I was afraid that it would put more of our servicemen in harms way for a conflict we had little business in. When the Gaddhafi regime voiced their inhumane intentions I had hoped for action through our air and naval forces. That indeed happened. The U.S. along with our  NATO allies and the full blessing of the Arab League drove the tanks back and shot the Libyan Air Force out of the sky. What happened next was about five months of fluid fighting and air strikes, the horrific siege of Misrata, and the overwhelming humanitarian challenge this would present.

As I write this Gaddhafi and his forces are now surrounded on all fronts and have been largely pushed out of Tripoli. The Dictator is yet to be caught and his family is at large. There are several things to consider in the present circumstances.

There is a lack of religious and ethnic friction among the Libyans but several tribal ties. Libya has a history of fighting foreign nations namely the Italian conquest of the 1920’s. The locals have not known a free and democratic society as their lives were ruled by the exiled King Idris I and Col. Gaddhafi. Coupled with a surplus of military weapons there exists a potentially unstable situation.

The NTC (National Transitional Council) exists but has limited power, the NATO alliance cannot do more than offer assistance in a military capacity and diplomacy with the emerging government and the tribal differences could very well lead to reprisal killings. One thing that is certain about this situation is that it is up to each and every citizen of that nation to do their part in creating a safe and lawful nation for their families. There is only so much an outside power can do for another country.

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