Monday, August 22, 2011

Last days of Gaddafi?

Over the weekend, the Libyan civil war - which had been stalemated for months - suddenly sprang to life, with a rebel assault on Tripoli. This morning, it looks like that assault has been successful, with rebel forces just 3km from the city centre. Two of Gaddafi's sons have been captured, and his bodyguard has reportedly surrendered. So, we may be looking at the last days of the Gaddafi regime.

I don't think anyone is going to be shedding nay tears over that. But the question now is what happens next? If the rebels are successful, they'll face the task of building a new, democratic Libya from the ground up - a difficult task, made more difficult by having a country full of guns and people who have seen that you can use them to gain power. There's a risk, inherent in all violent revolutions, of a prolonged civil war, or the replacement of one dictator with another.

The international community needs to help here. We've supported the rebels in war; now we need to support them in peace as well, to help them build a free and democratic Libya.