Libya is no Iraq – this revolution is the real deal

Mohamed Salem writes:

Muammar Gaddafi and his sons are now on the run, fleeing from the Libyan people, yet already the doomsayers and prophets of disaster have lined up to tell the world it isn’t worth it, that Libya is destined to go down the route of chaos and fragmentation. Libya will be another Iraq and Afghanistan, we are told.

They are wrong, because the post-conflict scenario in Libya differs from those two examples of failed western intervention in several crucial aspects. Indeed if you study the indicators, Libya is poised to be the most complete and potentially most successful of any the Arab uprisings so far.

The roots of Iraq and Afghanistan’s tragedy lie in the abrupt and imposed nature of change. It’s easy to forget that Libya’s organic and intense popular uprising preceded any international intervention. UN security council resolution 1973, which authorised the use of force to protect civilians, was only passed when it became clear that a massacre in the east was imminent. This is not Nato’s revolution, not by a long way. The Libyan revolution remains very much the real deal.

The reason this matters is because it means no foreign power can now assert a moral right to meddle in Libya’s future. Libya’s destiny is now rightfully in the hands of its people, having been hijacked by Gaddafi and his cronies for almost 42 years. It also means the west must to a degree absolve itself of direct responsibility for what happens next in Libya and leave the planning to Libyans themselves.

The worst idea of all would be to send in foreign ground troops now, even under the peacekeeping banner. Not only would this be met with fierce opposition by the Libyan people, it would send the message that the west still feels that Arabs cannot be trusted to look after themselves.

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4 thoughts on “Libya is no Iraq – this revolution is the real deal

  1. rosemerry

    sorry mohamed.It was not a peaceful popular uprising, it could not possibly have succeeded without massive NATO intervention, the proclaimed likely massacre was not based on fact, and the “rebels” do not represent the population of Libya and have already claimed the need for Shariah, so where does that leave the West? How can you say the people wanted this, then pretend that the West, who are the vultures wanting oil and power, will now just go away?

  2. Gunt

    Susan – “This will not end well”.

    Of course it will not end well. Not for the people of Libya.

  3. Colm O' Toole

    Just because NATO bombed Gaddaffi for 6 months (half a year) and finally took control of Tripoli does not mean the “revolution” was a success. It means regime change was a success. Simply proves that after half a year NATO is capable of defeating a city when its food and fuel supplies ran out.

    Anyway two good links on Libya that I read today.

    Simon Jenkins from The Guardian has a great piece taking on the very idea of humanitarian intervention:

    All such interventions, in Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, share the features of drawn-out mission creep followed by clarity in battle that is somehow lost in shambolic occupation.

    Neither Tunisia nor Egypt played any part in this operation, proud that their revolutions were autonomous and untainted by western aid. Tripoli is as dependent on Britain as Britain on Tripoli. If Cameron wants to take credit for the removal of Gaddafi then he cannot avoid responsibility for the aftermath. Yet that responsibility strips a new regime of homegrown legitimacy and strength. This is the classic paradox of liberal interventionism.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/23/gaddafi-downfall-britain-intervention

    And Pepe Escobar looks at who those vultures are, clamouring to profit from Libya’s destruction.

    And yes – most of the action has to do with oil deals, as in this stark assertion by Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at the “rebel” Arabian Gulf Oil Company; “We don’t have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil.”

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MH25Ak02.html

    Of course Russia, China and Brazil all refused to support the coup so they don’t get to share the spoils… of course I won’t mention here the Libyan rebels asking Israel for help by recognising the rebel council (in exchange for Libya recognising Israel).

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/rebel-spokesman-to-haaretz-libya-needs-world-s-help-including-israel-s-1.380320

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