Should Qaddafi's regime survive--a questionable proposition given the violence and popular outrage expressed on its streets--Libya will return to the pariah status it knew after bombing an American civilian airliner and its 270 passengers nearly twenty-five years ago. The brutal killing of over two hundred demonstrators in Libya so far has brought about harsh condemnations from around the world, with even terrorist group Hezbollah, responsible for murdering American and French diplomats in Lebanon, condemned the "crimes committed by the Qaddafi regime."
Yet a return to Qaddafi's absolute rule does not appear imminent or likely. Some forty years of political suppression, economic privation, and societal sclerosis have finally caught up with the flamboyant author of the Green Book. Qaddafi has proven himself to be out of touch, with key tribes having broken with him in recent days. Libya's top diplomats in many parts of the world--Britain, the EU, the Arab League, China, the UN, to name just a few--have already resigned in protest against Qaddafi's repression. Several pilots have voted with their aircraft and defected to neighboring Malta.
Qaddafi's response has been brutality coupled with laughable offers of reform, including a changed flag and a new national anthem, not political rights and freedoms. Meanwhile, his son has vowed to fight "to the last bullet." Remarkably, even though Qaddafi has largely succeeded in cutting Libya off from international communications--foreign journalists are barred, Internet access has been severed, and al-Jazeera is off the air--this has not forestalled the regional contagion from sweeping through this country of six and a half million.
UNIQUELY AFRICAN! UNIQUELY YOU!!