Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What next for Libya?

Now that NATO has enabled the "Libyan rebels" to push Qaddifi (aka Gadaffi, Ghadafi, Khadaffi, etc.) out of Tripoli, it is time to start wondering who will be running the alleged "country" in the future. According to the New York Times, "Colonel Qaddafi proved to be a problematic partner for international oil companies, frequently raising fees and taxes and making other demands. A new government with close ties to NATO may be an easier partner for Western nations to deal with."

This motivation for the invasion has been clear enough from the beginning, but the question remains: who will govern Libya now that Qaddifi, albeit uncaptured and not thoroughly vanquished, is out of power? The situation might prove more problematic than dealing with the old Colonel himself.

The "Transitional National Council," currently "speaking for" the "rebels," seems to consist of expatriates from Europe and the United States, a few defectors from Gaddafi's government (one of whom already has been assassinated), and a couple of tribes traditionally opposed to Ghadiffi's tribe. They are not the stuff of a unified government.

Well, whatever "government" emerges from the wreckage, I suppose there will be some contracts negotiated for Libyan oil. My suggestion, similar to my suggestion for Afghanistan, is that the western powers let the tribes work it out for themselves. Tribalism is the basic political motif for the middle east, so the best idea is to go with it. (Afghanistan, by the way, needs a loya jurga, not an "elected" government, to get it back on the road to nationhood.)

Meanwhile, though, let us all hope that Libya can begin to ship oil again — so that European (and world) oil prices can decline a bit. Will it make up for the expenditures of the Libyan War?

Who knows.

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