Monday, August 22, 2011

After Gaddafi, let's hope for the best in Libya

Yes, Gaddafi's fall will expose factional rivalries, but Libya is unlikely to turn into another Iraq, let alone Afghanistan

Brian Whitaker, Monday 22 August 2011

"....Libya's other advantage, noted by Tom Gara in a blog post for the Financial Times, is the defeat of Gaddafi's security forces.

"The backing of Nato air strikes means the physical infrastructure of the regime, from intelligence offices to security headquarters and military equipment, has been severely downgraded to the point of collapse," he wrote. "The country will be the only [one] in the Arab world where an opposition movement greets the new day with an old regime that is physically broken."

Exactly what this means for Libya is still unclear, but we have only to look at Tunisia and Egypt to see its potential importance. In Egypt, where the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took charge after Mubarak's fall, and to some extent in Tunisia too, the survival of unreconstructed security forces is proving a barrier to political change.

The difference in Libya is that the destruction of Gaddafi's army does at least open up the possibility of politicians, rather than the military, gaining the upper hand.

At the moment, of course, there's little we can be certain about. But let's hope for the best, stop predicting the worst, and prepare for something in between."

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