Sandbox Transition


The Despot is Dead

In death lie new beginnings and with Muammar Qadafi confirmed to be no longer in the land of the living a new state structure is to be born. Unlike with the resignation of Mubarak when I shared a sense of euphoria with my Egyptian sisters and brothers the announcement of Qadafi’s death filled me with a sense of unease. Chaos tends to be a transitional phase to new order. The question for Libya is how long this phase is going to last. The National Transitional Council seems a body of knowledgeable men and a few women. However with no previous tradition or structure of civil society and tribalism not playing an unimportant role there might be a lot of chaos before there is any order. I might be a tat worried, but Davy Cameron and friends can be more than satisfied. Their gamble to stick their Western noses into Libya’s murky business has more than paid off and besides diplomatic victory they are obviously to be rewarded with lucrative oil and gas deals. If that is to give any relief to the squeezed middle and the underclass in these economic times remains to be seen.

Now the mission in the Libyan sandbox has been accomplished I was thinking that NATO resources could be used to help the people in Syria who have been subjected to state terrorism for much too long now. There are plenty of geopolitical and strategic reasons to make it worth while for the Alliance to intervene. No need for UN approval, it hasn’t stopped them before.

While Qadafi can no longer be put on a lengthy and costly trial to make him pay for his crimes, what is to happen to his loyalists if there are still any left? What is to happen to (former) government officials who have defected, but are not less guilty of state terrorism? What is to happen to the women of Libya who have been, unlike their sisters in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia and suffering Syria, virtually invisible during the uprising? What if the democratic process brings about the ‘wrong sort’ of government?

Change is fundamentally part of life. The situation during Qadafi’s rule was pretty dire so how much worse could it possible get. Change in itself is good nor bad, it just is. So without putting a value judgement to what is to come next now Qadafi is no more we should just let change be. Whether it will be good or bad is a matter of interpretation and we are to find out soon enough.



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