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West Wading into a post-Gaddafi Libya Would Be Foolhardy

Posted on the 24 August 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya, arriving at Addis Ababa's Bole Airport ahead of the start of the Heads of State Summit at the African Union. Photo credit: aheavens While Colonel Muammar Gaddafi insists the loss of his Tripoli base to rebel forces is a “tactical move” and looks intent on fighting to the bitter end, the reality is that the 42-year-old regime is on the verge of total collapse. As focus turns to Libya’s post-Gaddafi future, commentators are urging the West not to overreach in its contribution to the reconstruction of Libya. The warnings are partly informed by the bitter Iraq experience, which saw an initially welcomed intervention morph into hated occupation. Foreign Secretary William Hague rubbished Gaddafi’s claims that his forces could bounce back. Speaking after chairing a meeting of the National Security Council on Libya, Hague said, “We are witnessing the death throes of the Qadhafi regime in Libya. We, of course don’t know how long that will take. We have seen some scenes of jubilation, of celebration of the fall of the compound of the Qadhafi regime. There is a clear, fundamental, decisive rejection of that regime by the people of Libya and the regime has clearly lost control of most of the capital and much of the country. I think it is time now for Colonel Qadhafi to stop issuing delusional statements and to recognise that that has happened, that control of the country is not going to return.” “The default position of the Muslim world towards the West is hostility, rooted in our support for Israel against the Palestinians, and perceived cultural dominance,”insisted Max Hastings of The Daily Mail. Western ‘infidels’ must stay out. The Daily Mail’s Max Hastings insisted, “our job is done. We must not send a single British soldier into this mayhem.“ Hastings predicted that Libya might “disintegrate into civil war” as tribes battle for control in a post-Gaddafi era and urged David Cameron to “resist all suggestions and blandishments that British troops in Libya should be deployed on any pretext: not as peacekeepers, or as a ‘stabilisation force’, or even to distribute Christmas parcels.” Hastings said that any soldiers who do step foot in Libya must come from Muslim countries and argued that it would be an “act of madness for Westerners — infidels — to send troops into yet another Muslim state, even if they are promised roses and kisses. The potential for strife is enormous. Over the past decade, in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have had the most sobering possible education about how good intentions can be set at naught, and the most benign welcome turn to alienation and hatred.” Hastings saw “great risks, and precious little profit, in sticking out our national neck one inch further in Libya than we have done already” and urged the West to accept that “the era of Western hegemony is coming to an end at frightening speed, as the global economy totters and wealth shifts Eastwards.” ‘Government inaction’ can work wonders! Writing at The Times (£), Anatole Kaletsky urged that world leaders should note that “this is the time for inaction.” Kaletsky argued that “patience and restraint” rather than “blundering in” helped unseat Gaddafi. Kaletsky said Western governments should appreciate the Libyan model of boldness combined with patience and restraint in addressing the other burning issues of the day: “At a time when investors and commentators all over the world are demanding panic measures to prevent another economic meltdown, Libya reminds us that governments must sometimes be more patient than financial markets or newspapers.” Democracy in Libya: West shouldn’t hold it breath. Writing at The Daily Telegraph, historian Richard Landes insisted that the West must not expect democracy to flourish overnight in post-Gaddafi Libya. Landes argued that “theconsistently repeated failure” of democracy to blossom in the Arab world, “nothing seems to dent the near-religious belief in democracy’s spread to the Arab world among Western liberals who insist on projecting their own mentality on others … Those of us who have studied not just the institutions of democracy – constitutions, judiciaries based on equality before the law, elections, legislation – but the culture underlying it, are not so jejeune and optimistic.” Landes argued that “democracy is an astonishingly difficult accomplishment” and did not hold out hope that the “’modern,’ technologically savvy, ‘pluralist,’ players in whom the media invests so much of their time and their hope,” are likely “to come out on top of such a struggle.”  

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