Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tripoli & Qaddafi Fall -- What Can We Know?

 Now reports by Libyan news sources withinTripoli itself state that the rebels control “most’ or “90%” of the city (the report has the look of being rushed), and that Qaddafi has fled the city, which in this report indicates that he fled by ship.  Western reports speculate whether he has fled the country, but indications are that he is still in the Tripoli area.  Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, both accused by the International Court of Justice as war criminals, is reportedly captured.

Despite the bumbling support of the US and NATO to the rebels, in an operation that was naïvely expected to last a few weeks at most but instead staggered along for over five months, the rebels have finally prevailed.  The downfall of Qaddafi is overdue by several decades, and I look forward to full justice meted out to him and his regime.

I also look forward to see how western governments, our own in particular, will take credit for the downfall and what precisely that means, considering the bumbling manner that we have shown in trying to determine what our objective has been in supporting the rebels, whoever they turn out to be.  The rebels have coalesced to some extent into a Transitional National Council, but there is no way of knowing how the various factions will sort out power in the new government not yet formed, or even if outside forces, friendly or inimical to the West, will yet lend their weight.

Over an indeterminate time in the (hopefully) near future, I also hope to see clarification of what role Qaddafi has played in any number of international crimes, if there is any access to Libyan government files and interrogations of Qaddafi supporters.  That would include, of course, the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 over Lockebie in Scotland.

I also want to see an investigation of the extent to which Qaddafi’s nuclear weapon programme, which he surrendered to the US and UK after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, cooperated with the Iraqi programme.  We know that he cooperated with the North Koreans and Iranians – was Hussein connected with the Libyan programme in an effort to throw off the scent of the weapons inspectors that he was playing games with?  We should compare documents in Libya with the enormous pile of documents captured in Iraq, which are slowly being translated and assessed, though that would be difficult for the public to know since there have been no reports forthcoming from that effort for quite some time now.

I am also interested in a comparison of the stances of pundits who have said that we had no business in Iraq, but are touting how we fixed the situation in Libya.

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