Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 344

Posts Tagged ‘Muammar Qaddafi’

The fall of Muammar Qaddafi

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 25 agosto 2011

The climax of Libya’s six­month­old revolt was not only televised via satellite but also text­messaged. Shortly after armed rebels captured the state telecoms company during their entry into the capital, Tri­ poli, on August 21st they sent a note to millions of mobile­phone users saying Long live free Libya. Then they added the equivalent of $40 to all accounts and restored the country’s internet connection, which had been cut at the start of the rebellion. Earlier in the day, thousands of fighters had rushed from the west and south into the surprisingly lightly defended city, accompanied by television crews and cheered on by dancing crowds. They were aided by rebels hiding in suburbs, troops arriving by sea and NATO aircraft. In Green Square, previously the scene of countless stage­managed rallies in support of the old regime, Tripolitans tore down pictures of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, their ruler for the last 42 years and the world’s longest­reigning dictator. Benghazi, the rebel capital at the other end of the country’s coastline, was illuminated by reworks as hundreds of thousands of people celebrated in the streets.
The toppling of Colonel Qaddafi no matter whether he is eventually tried, killed or exiled‹will be a boon to the Middle East and Western powers that supported the rebels. The implications for Libya itself are less clear and in part depend on whether Qaddafi loyalists will disperse and keep their weapons or agree to disarm. To become a rule­based democracy the stated goal of all the various rebel groups Libya must avoid an Iraqi­style insurgency, as well as disputes among the new rulers. Helpfully, Libya has no sectarian divide. Its society is relatively homogeneous but grievances abound after four decades of oppression. Revenge killings loom, as well as tribal conficts and large­scale looting, given the lack of physical security at the moment. The fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan showed that a temporary power vacuum can lead to long­term instability and undermine the formation of a functioning state. The impact of Libya’s liberation on the rest of the Arab world looks clearer. What counts there is the dethronement of a tyrant. It will lift spirits in Syria, where another reformist revolt is under way. It will also give renewed drive to Egyptians and Tunisians who toppled their dictators several months ago but have since been grappling with constitutional change. Libya will inject new momentum into the Arab spring raising hopes that decades of stagnation and repression can be ended.
The surprising length of the Libya campaign is a result of tactics employed on both sides. The colonel managed to hold out until now because he rights without restraint. This contrasts markedly with NATO. Its pilots have bombed selectively, keeping collateral damage to a minimum. Despite what pro­regime propagandists say, few civilians have been killed from the air. British and French generals, who led the campaign, rightly paid much attention to the interception of supplies to pro­Qaddafi forces, successfully weakening them over time. Libya is the first alliance campaign where America took a back seat. Europeans with some shameful exceptions car­ ried most of the burden. This division of labour, in select circumstances, could be a template for future operations. But this does not mark the return of liberal interventionism. On balance, the first would be preferable: the more responsibility Libyans take for their future, the better (from The Economist –abstract) Also in this week’s issue:
• How to avoid a double dip: Our prescriptions for the West’s economies
• After Steve Jobs: Apple without its maker
• The internet v Chinese state TV: Spearing China’s Google
• Mexico: The monopolies that hobble its economy
• Climate science: How bad weather causes war

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