Saturday, February 26, 2011

What will Post Gaddafi Libya look like? (TIME)

Would Gaddafi's Fall Really Bring Peace to Libya?
Is it the End of Days for Libya? "Only the south, Tripoli, and Sert are under Muammar Gaddafi's control," says Mustafa Abd al-Jalil, who, until he quit this week, was Justice minister for the strongman. "East Libya, Zawiya, Misurata, and the western mountains are now under control of the civilians." The ex-minister feels that there may only be one way to end the struggle. "If Tripoli falls, Gaddafi will kill himself, or people close to him will kill him — maybe his guards," he explains. "it will be the waning loyalty of [Gaddafi's sons'] forces and Gaddafi's government that kills his regime."

But even that outcome may not guarantee peace for Libya. Says Dirk Vandewalle, a Libyan expert at Dartmouth University, "Both sides, both the population, and the security organizations, know exactly what's at stake. If government militias [are to] win, they will have to kill many more, and if the security organizations lose, then the people, the regular people in Libya are going to take their revenge." Says Vandewalle: "Either way we're going to see a terrible blood bath. And I think both sides realize this very well and that I think is what really explains the kind of escalating cycle of violence and the very, very brutal actions that we've seen on both sides by now." According to David Mack, a former deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affaris, the worst possible outcome would be a widespread lawlessness in which Libya degenerated into a kind of "Somalia on the Mediterranean."

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