22 August 2011

Libya's Moment of Exultation

It looks like Qaddafi is on his way out. He was a stubborn and arrogant man and it looks like he will pay for this with his life. He could have left early on like his Tunisian counterpart did and avoid unnecessary bloodshed and carnage.

The rebel victory is impressive by any measure. This was a ragtag, untrained force that was incapable of using NATO weapons given to them just a few months earlier. They seemed unorganized and without a clear command structure. Yet, they managed fairly complex military operations, they (must have) formed sophisticated supply lines and they beat a superior force quickly and convincingly.

I agree with Juan Cole in that "Libyans deserve a moment of exultation."

I will only make a small note for the future. When I started this blog, I wrote to a friend of mine predicting that as long as there is oil there and (without a dictator like Qaddafi) a chance to affect the control of that oil, peace will be elusive for Libya. Some powers will back some groups and others will back other groups and peace will prove to be much more difficult than war.

So, despite my misgivings about mentioning this in their moments of exultation, I have to note that I am not very optimistic about Libya's future. Besides obvious ones like France and Britain, I expect other less obvious powers like China to get involved there.

This is one instance where I hope I am wrong.

I also have a small request from the media outlets around the world: Now that Qaddafi is on his way out, can we finally agree on a single spelling of his name?

If the rebel leadership manage that, this could be their first peace-time achievement.

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