Libya — beginning of the end

Published: August 26, 2011

There isn’t one rebel leader who is respected by everyone PHOTO: REUTERS

As the gunfire reaches Colonel Qaddafi’s compound, it seems as though ‘the end is near’ for the longest serving dictator in the modern world. However, since neither was this a Libyan-led nor a Libyan-owned war, one may argue that this is only just the beginning of the end.

When we might get to see Qaddafi creep out of his compound or get killed in the process cannot be foretold; however the situation in Libya does seem to be more fluid and ‘complacency,’ a by-product of winning the war, may get the better of everyone.

As his regime fades into the background — only to regroup and reorganise — we must assume  the spotlight will be on the rebel groups, who might turn on each other for control over Tripoli, and the National Transitional Council (NTC), which has its toughest decisions to make as of yet. “All the rebel groups will want to control Tripoli. Order will be needed,” Libyan rebel Husam Najjair was quoted as telling Reuters.

In the rebels’ case, the key concern is the lack of unity. “There isn’t one rebel leader who is respected by everyone,” Kamran Bokhari, the Middle East director at Stratfor global intelligence firm was quoted as saying.

However, in the case of the NTC, the concern lies in the uncertainty over its maturity as a body that is capable of leading a successful post-intervention, Libyan-led campaign. It will have to take tough decisions in order to avoid a power vacuum which would directly play into the hands of Qaddafi and Islamist groups. The plan will have to be inclusive in order for it to succeed. “You cannot make a rule that anyone who worked for Qaddafi cannot work with us,” said Ashour Shamis, a UK-based Libyan opposition activist.

The most worrying concern, however, is one that spawns from foreign interests and a western presence on the ground which may prove counterproductive, similar to the Iraq war, where support and planning may have been critical, but who delivered it was vital.

In the days to come, this war may take a turn for the good, the bad or the ugly but let us hope that whatever the case maybe, the Libyan people can chart out their own future without foreign intervention.


Hassaan Khan

A sub-editor on the national desk of The Express Tribune. He graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.