Many Libyans are celebrating the death of a dictator and Western leaders are hailing a transition to democracy. However, that outcome is not inevitable. While NATO is now expected to end its bombing of Libya, their business there is just beginning.
Hillary Clinton paid a surprise visit to Tripoli a day before the killing of the ousted Libyan leader. There she was quoted as saying that the US hopes to see Gaddafi killed or captured soon.
The captured scenario might have put Gaddafi in the toppled Egyptian leader’s shoes, or those of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
But a trial over Colonel Gaddafi would have, no doubt, stirred even more controversy.
“The death of Gaddafi was very convenient for the big European powers, for the West,” Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar told RT. “He would spill the beans about all the dirty deals. There are the stuff [sic] – a real politics – between the West and a developing country like Libya. Nobody wanted that.”
Libyan transitional government officials say Colonel Gaddafi was cornered in a drain underneath a road in open countryside, near the city of Sirte. “Please, don’t shoot!” was allegedly heard at the site.
Many point out similarities to the capture of Saddam Hussein. He was discovered in a small, underground hole, concealed next to farm buildings near his hometown.
But unlike Saddam, who was captured alive by US forces, Colonel Gaddafi was reportedly shot dead by Libyan transitional authorities, aided by the US.
A defense official claimed a US predator drone along with a French fighter jet hit Gaddafi’s convoy Thursday morning as they were trying to escape, effectively handing them over to the Libyan forces on the ground.
“There are still unanswered questions about what happened to Colonel Gaddafi, ‘How was he killed? How did he die?’” says Middle East expert Edmund Ghareeb. “But clearly, I think, were it not for external intervention in Libya by all of NATO, the rebels in Benghazi may not have been able to achieve their objective.”
NATO’s UN mandate was to protect Libyan civilians but it quickly became to get rid of Gaddafi and prop up a government, which is now in power – only thanks to the support of the allied forces.
“And I think we’ll see not a new democracy in Libya, but a new reorganization of the Libyan political and economic institutions to the benefit of those who brought the National Transitional Council to power,” said. “It will be for the benefit of the United States’ oil companies, for the benefit of the British, and the French, and perhaps the Italian oil companies. They are the big winners here.”
In the meantime, Western leaders are celebrating Libya’s transition to democracy.
“Without putting a single US service member on the ground – we achieved our objectives,” said US President Barack Obama.
What the US president did not mention in his celebratory speech was scores of Libyans killed in NATO strikes. Widespread violations of human rights are reported in today’s Libya.
“There is no water there, no medication, they don’t have even oxygen in the hospitals,” an eyewitness of NATO atrocities in Libya, Ali Alkasih, told RT. “I have seen the situation in Sirte, I can assure you it is a disaster. It is a catastrophe.”
Libya is now brimming with weapons. Experts say extremists have most likely got their hands on the vast armories left untended.
As for Libya’s transition to democracy, the people now in power there have not been chosen by the Libyan people. And many Libyans fear that when the time comes to vote, the choice will have already been made for them.