Friday, 21 October 2016

Libya, After Death Of Col Muammar Gaddaf

October 20, 2016 is exactly five years since former Libyan Leader Col. Muammar Gaddaffi was killed by NATO backed forces. Col. Gaddaffi was no doubt a controversial figure. To some, he was a terror but to others he was a hero. His death still arouses mixed feelings among many Libyans and Africans in general. The point can be made that the decision by the western forces spearheaded by the US and France to intervene in the Arab spring, was not a genuine desire to liberate the people of Libya, but a desperate effort to get rid of a man who dared challenge their supremacy. Gaddaffi, was in no way a push over in world politics, he stood his ground and spoke his mind fearlessly. The western forces were just opportunistic, taking advantage of the wave of the Arab spring. That decision is currently haunting US Democratic Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton, who was the then Secretary of State.

The death of Gaddaffi hardly represents any of the ideals aspired to by a nation that had just emerged from violence and war on the heels of the Libyan revolution, which was supposed to bring back justice and the rule of law. Without a doubt, Libya today is a fractured country without any central government. At the same time, different terror groups are making gains in Libya. The most dangerous of them is the Islamic State. At the same time, various militias still operate outside any government control with the judiciary hardly functioning. Benghazi, the second major city in Libya where the revolution started in February 2011, in the wake of the Arab spring has been almost completely destroyed. Compared to a year or two ago, life for ordinary Libyans in the capital might have improved a little, but it is still far from what it used to be under Gadhafi. Many Libyans feel insecurity, struggle to make ends meet, with skyrocketing prices and little subsidized basic food available. Basic medical services are almost nonexistent, forcing people to seek treatment in neighboring Tunisia. Those with financial means seeking to go to Europe for whatever reason find it even harder, since all Western embassies have long closed. Oil production, the main source of government revenue, is down denying the treasury much-needed funds. All major infrastructure projects that were in progress when the unrest started five years ago have been on hold since all major foreign companies left. Thousands of Libyans are still displaced inside their country. In the absence of an organized military, armed militias continue to assert their role as guardians of the revolution.

Looking back, Libya under Muammar Gaddafi had the highest Human Development Index, the lowest infant mortality and the highest life expectancy in all of Africa. Arguably, one could say that Libya today is a failed state. The south of the country has fallen into the hands of ISIS terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. There are widespread cases of rape, assassinations and torture . The democracy which Libyans were promised by Western governments after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi has all but vanished. Under Gaddafi’s unique system of direct democracy, traditional institutions of government were disbanded and abolished, putting power directly in the hands of the people through various committees and congresses. Libya was highly decentralised and divided into several small communities that were essentially “mini-autonomous States” within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. International relations experts have argued that America’s bombing campaign of 2011 has not only destroyed the infrastructure of Libya’s democracy but also actively promoted ISIS . US president Barak Obama's has admitted that the US failed to plan the aftermath of Libya and the subsequent killing of Gaddafi. Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of western intelligence agencies.

Today, Libya is home to the world’s largest loose arms cache, and its porous borders are routinely transited by a host of heavily armed non-state actors including Tuareg separatists and jihadists. NATO’s bombardment of Libya may indeed go down in history as one of the greatest military failures of the 21st century. General George Patton once said and i quote insecurity kills all that is beautiful, unquote. The once beautiful Gaddafi's Libya has been killed by insecurities and interference by western powers. Those who had a hand in the current state of Libya must bow their heads in shame. On the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the cruel killing of Col. Gaddaffi, let Libyans take solace in the hope that their country can be great once again. Let them not despair, let them work towards realising the dreams of their founding fathers. Let the fighters drop their weapons and turn their guns towards their common enemy of poverty, hunger, underdevelopment and most importantly neocolonial and imperial forces.


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