Gaddafi is dead: What next for Libya?

The death of Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, yesterday, perhaps marks the end of the Arab Spring of Discontent that saw the fall of regimes in Algeria and Egypt, and push the government in Yemen regime to the brink.The 69-year-old Gaddafi is the first leader to be killed in the Arab Spring wave of popular uprisings that swept the Middle East, as demands for the end of autocratic rulers and the establishment of greater democracy took a life of its own.

The death of Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, yesterday, perhaps marks the end of the Arab Spring of Discontent that saw the fall of regimes in Algeria and Egypt, and push the government in Yemen regime to the brink.

The 69-year-old Gaddafi is the first leader to be killed in the Arab Spring wave of popular uprisings that swept the Middle East, as demands for the end of autocratic rulers and the establishment of greater democracy took a life of its own.

But what happens next should be the real cause of worry for Africa and the international community. The proliferation of arms in Libya is said to go way beyond what is in lawless Somalia. And the prospect of another lawless state similar to Somalia should be avoided at all costs.

It is not simply about mopping up illegal arms in the wrong hands. That would be the easy part. Stopping Libya from becoming another Somali, where terrorists can find safety, give way to piracy and illegal trade in illegal arms should be the big worry.

It is, therefore incumbent upon the UN, which passed the Resolution that saw the ouster and ultimately the brutal death of Gaddafi to exercise its Duty of Care to ensure that peace is restored and law and order imposed.

The same principle applies to those who supported the rebels of the National Transitional Council. They have an international obligation under enforcement of the Responsibility to Protect norm to stop chaos, revenge attacks and any post Gaddafi violence from breaking out.

Humanitarian assistance and the foundations of democracy must be established with the shortest time possibility.

Reconciliation will be a must; the war that saw Gaddafi ousted and then killed was dirty and vicious; its wounds will take time to heal, but Libya might not have the time or luxury for a long healing period.

The fact that the war to oust Gadaffi took so long is enough evidence of how tricky and difficult that might be.

Gaddafi’s death decisively ends a regime that had turned Libya into an international pariah and ran the oil-rich nation by the whim and brutality of its notoriously eccentric leader. Libya stands on the cusp of a new era, but its turmoil may not be over.

The former rebels who now rule are disorganised and face rebuilding a country virtually without institutions by Gadhafi's design. They have already shown signs of infighting, with divisions between geographical areas and Islamists and more secular ideologies.

Libya's new leaders had said they would declare the country's "liberation" after the fall of Sirte.

President Obama said Gadhafi's death "marks the end of a long and painful chapter" for Libya. Vice President Joe Biden said the Libyan people had rid themselves of a dictator and have now "got a chance" with Gadhafi gone.

Footage aired on Arab TV networks showed Gadhafi was captured wounded but alive in Sirte. The goateed, balding Gadhafi is seen in a blood-soaked shirt, and his face bloodied. Standing upright, he is shoved along by a crowd of fighters on a Sirte roadside, chanting "God is great."

Gadhafi appears to struggle against them, stumbling and shouting as the fighters push him onto the hood of a pickup truck.

"We want him alive. We want him alive," one man shouts before Gadhafi is dragged away, some fighters pulling his hair, toward an ambulance. Later footage showed fighters rolling Gadhafi's lifeless body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and a pool of blood under his head.

Amnesty International called on Libyan revolutionary fighters to make public the full facts of how Gadhafi died, saying all members of the former regime should be treated humanely.

The London-based rights group said it was essential to conduct "a full, independent and impartial inquiry to establish the circumstances of Col. Gadhafi's death."

Out of initial confusion, a clearer picture began to emerge of Gadhafi's last hours, though there were still contradictions.

Most accounts agreed Gadhafi had been holed up with heavily armed supporters in the last few buildings held by regime loyalists in his Mediterranean coastal hometown of Sirte, furiously battling advancing revolutionary fighters.

At one point, a convoy tried to flee and was hit by NATO air strikes, carried out by French warplanes. France's Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the 80-vehicle convoy was carrying Gadhafi and was trying to escape the city.

The strikes stopped the convoy but did not destroy it, and then revolutionary fighters moved in on the vehicle carrying Gadhafi himself.

Fathi Bashaga, spokesman for the Misrata military council, whose forces were involved in the Sirte siege, said fighters encircled the convoy and exchanged fire with several of the vehicles.

In one, they found Gadhafi, wounded in the neck, and took him to an ambulance. "What do you want?" Gadhafi said to the approaching revolutionaries, Bashaga said, citing witnesses.

Gadhafi bled to death from his wounds a half-hour later, he said.

Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, a doctor who was part of the medical team that accompanied the body in the ambulance and examined it, said Gadhafi died from two bullet wounds, to the head and chest.

"You can't imagine my happiness today. I can't describe my happiness," he told The Associated Press. "The tyranny is gone. Now the Libyan people can rest."

Gadhafi's body was then paraded through the streets of the nearby city of Misrata on top of a vehicle surrounded by a large crowd chanting, "The blood of the martyrs will not go in vain," according to footage aired on Al-Arabiya television.

The fighters who killed Gadhafi are believed to have come from Misrata, a city that suffered a brutal weeks-long siege by Gadhafi's forces during the eight-month long civil war.

Ends

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