Libya in anarchy

Arab Spring happened in Tunisia. It’s wake travelled eastward to the shores of the Arabian sea. The first serious consequence affected neighbouring Libya.

Libya was being ruled by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, a dictator, he ruled by stapling all forms of dissent and deft manipulation of tribal rivalries within the country to his advantage. The country’s large oil reserves is of interest to America and its allies across the Mediterranean. They desired a pliant state, sensitive to their needs, but Gaddafi did not oblige. Deeply religious and with his own world view, his activities were seen as a threat to their national security. His vehement support to the Palestenian cause and criticism of American endorsement of Israel did not endear him to the western world.

Gaddafi was accused of financing militancy in different parts of the world, as far as the Philippines. The breaking point came when an international Pan Am flight was bombed over the coast of Scotland, known as the Lockerbie bombing. Later, his complicity was established.

Inspired by the happenings in Tunisia, the long suppressed Libyan citizenry rose in revolt and the western powers came to their aid. Gaddafi came down on the dissidents heavily with a considerable military force at his disposal. With the rebels on the back-foot, the western powers intervened. He was denied the sea lanes by active western naval presence. NATO warplanes confined his air assets to their bases. His ground forces became sitting ducks in the flat Libyan landscape. Gaddafi was defeated.

Gaddafi, with his sons and associates killed or captured, was on the run. He was tracked to the city of Sirte, and lynched.

So far so good, for the intervening powers, but they could not anticipate the aftermath. The militias refused to disband, and began fighting each other. Deep tribal rivalries kept in check by Gaddafi resurfaced. The high point that followed was the attack on the American embassy and murder of the ambassador. The Americans blamed Al-Qaeda inspired militants. Their claim gained credence when a lone gunman attacked a Tunisian beach resort and killed a large number of European holiday makers. The government hunted him down and said he was trained in an extremist camp in Libya.

Presently, Libya sports two governments in Tripoli and Tobruk respectively. With the country sinking into lawlessness, the bloodletting continues with no solution in sight.

PS: The objective of the Arab Spring was to ensure a democratic and peaceful social dispensation.


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