Beyond the Cusp

October 21, 2011

Muammar Qaddafi Executed, Mixed Emotions

Muammar Qaddafi was either executed or murdered by “rebel” forces depending on your expectations or definitions, but either way one more monstrous dictator is no more. Am I in some ways feeling that the passing of Muammar Qaddafi was, of itself free from any other considerations, a positive outcome, no matter the circumstances? Of course the answer is yes. Would I have preferred Muammar Qaddafi have stood before a proper court of law and been tried for his numerous acts of barbarism? Definitely. Has the death of Muammar Qaddafi filled me with hope of a promising future for Libya and the world without him? Unfortunately, not in the slightest. What is my fear? My fear is that his death is more a harbinger of even worse evils to rise in place of Muammar Qaddafi and these new horrors will portend a far larger threat than Muammar Qaddafi had come to represent towards the end of his reign before the uprising even started. The big question is whether or not the death of Muammar Qaddafi will play out as something we should be celebrating or will it turn into an even greater threat and nightmare than Libya had been before the revolution.

Let’s be optimistic and look at the plusses first. Removing Muammar Qaddafi from the world stage has removed any possibility that this maniacal megalomaniac would ever again haunt the world through his sponsoring of terrors similar in scale to the Lockerbie bombing. Due to his removal being done through force, we will no longer need to fear that any of his sons or protégés will ever come to power. Many people who had suffered loses either directly or indirectly now can have closure. With any luck, much of the hierarchy of terror, be it either external to Libya or internal contained within Libya, will be effectively leaderless and will dissolve or, at the very least, become far less effective with Muammar Qaddafi out of the picture. And lastly, with a great amount of fortuitous luck, Libya has at least a chance at a brighter future and the Libyan people will be free from at least one monster. So, we have some areas where we can look and see a brightness resulting from the long civil war which NATO forces had been assisting with air support and other tactical measures. And, best of all, with any luck the killing is over or shall be very shortly and both the Libyan people and the forces of NATO who assisted will be able to return to some semblance of normalcy.

But, let’s not kid ourselves. Not everything is going to be all roses and sunshine. There are serious doubts as to the intent of the rebel forces. There is also the fact that there are many diverse and competing factions within the rebel ranks which could extend the fighting as they compete for power and control of the new government. There have been some rumblings that many of those who will be responsible for forming the new governance in Libya fully intend to install a government based on Sharia Law. There is no guarantee that Libya’s new government will truly be of a democratic nature. Some of the leaders of certain factions among the rebel factions are known to have been part of terror organizations including al-Qaeda, among others. Reports have surfaced that large amounts of advanced weapon systems such as RPGs, anti-tank rockets, anti-aircraft rockets, and other weapon systems have disappeared and have been rumored to have ended up either in Gaza or in the Sinai Peninsula awaiting smugglers to transfer them to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda in Palestine, and other terror groups in Gaza. And, worst of all, it is entirely possible should the separate factions which comprised the rebel forces be unable to reach an accord on how to share power and what form the new government should take that Libya’s revolution that removed Muammar Qaddafi could end up with similar results as the French Revolution that removed Louis XVI leading to a Libyan Napoleon rising to power which would be no better and very possibly worse than the deposed Muammar Qaddafi.

The final results from the permanent removal of Muammar Qaddafi and even the smallest amount of his influence is something of a mystery with too many variables for anybody to say for certain what will be produced in the coming day, weeks, or however long it takes. I fully expect for the NATO leaders whose forces played a significant supporting role, including President Obama, to predict great results with unshakeable assurance. I wish I could be as sure as they will attempt to make things appear. My question will probably come in an article in six weeks when not only are things not falling into place with nice neat little slots and cubby holes, but things are flying apart and violence is again erupting with many of the different commanders and their groups gathering in their home areas preparing to take that which they feel they are being denied despite promises or expectations. We have witnessed similar reoccurrences of violence in Tunisia and Egypt and neither country had proved to be able to meet deadlines they had set for themselves and the interim governments are falling out of favor and have resorted to force to try and keep the peace, or at least some semblance of order. The tensions in Libya will very likely follow a similar line as the people’s expectations are not met and promises start breaking and everything starts to appear to be breaking at the seams, or even worse, completely shattering. I am not aware of what amounts of resources are going to be available for the import of food, payment of those government workers who will be needed to continue to have many necessary functions operate, and other necessities that will require funding to keep the people from hardship, suffering and causing general unrest. I am aware that in Egypt, if they do not find additional funds or receive an infusion of funds, within six months critical shortages in many items will start, the most serious being food as Egypt imports close to three-quarters of its required foodstuffs. A similar crisis in Libya might be even more imminent assuming that much of the funds were likely well hidden by Muammar Qaddafi, especially once the revolt started. This will be a challenge in every country facing such situations where the government has been overthrown and normalcy is still seemingly off in the distant future. Things may very well become very dicey before things can be returned to some form of routine familiarity. We should be prepared for the worst while hoping for the least hazardous.

Beyond the Cusp

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