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Libya Denouement

  • August 25th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

gaddafi-20113.jpg  libya-al-jazeera1.jpgAlong with the triumphal shouts and celebratory bursts of gunfire in the streets of Tripoli; unease still ruled in certain parts of town; the search for Muamar al-Gaddafi heated up, with offers of a bounty; and international gatherings began, aimed at funding the beginnings of a new order, and promoting a turn to democracy.


With the ransacking of the government compound now abandoned by the Gaddafi forces, Libya’s National Transitional Council was reported to be offering amnesty to backers of the former head of government, if they turned him in, alive or dead. There was also talk from Council sources of a private bounty being offered, in the order of $US1.3-million (A$1.24-million;, 25.8.11) for his capture.

A report from Britain said a close watch was being kept on the hotel where foreign journalists have been accommodated by the Gaddafi regime, and where they have been detained for four days; some saying that regular staff abandoned the place as rebel forces arrived in Tripoli, leaving gunmen stationed outside.


A donors’ meeting was getting under way on Wednesday night in Doha, with representatives of states including Britain, France, Italy, Turkey, the United States and Qatar.

They were said to be looking for a fund to support transitional rule in Libya, of $US 2.5-billion, (A$2.38-billion).

The destiny of Libyan oil output, and a revival of production disrupted by the months of fighting, must be considered as well.


A summit of powers to include the European Union will follow.

The favoured prescription backed by the international community, (meaning in effect the Western powers that promoted the six months campaign against Gaddafi, and the United Nations), is for an interim regime that will see in democratic elections and the rule of law.

Said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of the NATO alliance, which has kept up its patrols, and air strikes, over Tripoli:

“That transition must come peacefully… NATO is ready to work with the Libyan people and with the Transitional National Council, which holds a great responsibility. They must make sure that the transition is smooth and inclusive, that the country stays united, and that the future is founded on reconciliation and respect for human rights.

“We will continue to monitor military units and key facilities, as we have since March, and when we see any threatening moves towards the Libyan people, we will act in accordance with our UN mandate.”


The International Crisis Group, the research and advocacy body based at Brussels and Washington, for preventing armed conflict, has joined in with an analysis of the Gaddafi regime, the transition, and what it sees as the imperatives for coming times.

It says this week’s euphoria needs to be followed by concentrated work on orderly change.

That report, in part:

As Libyans prepare for the Qaddafi regime’s imminent demise, the country faces a pivotal moment of historic proportions. ..

The new, still nascent, Libyan leadership, faces a dual, difficult legacy which it will need to overcome: four decades of an autocratic regime that failed to build genuine state institutions and six months of a civil war that, together with inevitable human and material losses, exposed old divisions and fissures while prompting new ones. The challenge for that leadership, as well as for international actors who enabled its drive into Tripoli, is threefold: to establish a broadly inclusive and representative transitional governing body; address immediate security risks; and find an appropriate balance between, on the one hand, the search for accountability and justice and, on the other, the imperative of avoiding arbitrary score-settling and revenge.


As rebel fighters stream into Tripoli, they will come upon the collapse of a quasi-state, the Jamahiriya, or so-called “state of the masses” – a somewhat jerry-built contraption created by Muammar Qaddafi that, however sincere it might have been at its revolutionary inception, became a vehicle to advance his personal and political ambitions…

Further complicating this task are the inevitable difficulties in establishing the national legitimacy of Libya’s new leaders. The Transitional National Council (TNC), created in rebel-held Benghazi in March 2011, could stake a clear claim to representing Libyans in areas free of regime control, and it has done a remarkable job in constituting basic institutions to manage civic life in those areas and attract international support. Yet the TNC never could claim to represent all Libyans …


Six months of insurgency, while ultimately successful, created, laid bare or exacerbated divisions … along regional, ethnic or tribal lines and within the rebel leadership, as evidenced in the 28 July assassination, apparently at rebel hands, of rebel commander Abdel Fattah Younes.

There will be, too, tensions between secular and Islamist forces…

Much hard work will need to be done very quickly to reduce the real risk of the country slipping into chaos.

In this context, Libya’s rulers will need to urgently turn their attention to the following areas:


Security, law and order: How the new leaders deal with law and order will be essential in determining popular perceptions of their qualifications to run the country in the interim period. In the critical first days, the erstwhile rebel groups should fill the security vacuum left by the surrender or disappearance of the former regime’s security forces. They should stop distributing arms to the population and instead begin collecting and securing them. They should integrate whatever viable elements of the former regime’s security forces can be retained into a new structure led by commanders appointed and supervised by the interim ruling council. ..

Those suspected of crimes should be detained and brought to justice before proper judicial institutions…handing the worst offenders, including Qadhafi’s inner circle, over to the courts (and those indicted by the International Criminal Court to the ICC in The Hague).

Members of the international community should match their military campaign with a new and commensurate political, diplomatic and reconstruction/development-focused effort. In this context, the UN should be given a central role in the transition process…


AFP, Paris, “Britain watching Tripoli hotel situation closely”, 24.8.11.

BBC News, London, “Libya crisis: Doha meeting seeks to raise $2.5bn aid”, 24.8.11., (24.8.11).

Robert Birsel, Christian Lowe and Andrew Roche, “Battle for Tripoli: Gaddafi flees Tripoli HQ ransacked by rebels”; “Libyan rebels offer amnesty for turning in Gaddafi”, Reuters, London, 24.8.11., (24.8.11).

International Crisis Group, Brussels, “Libya: Ensuring a Smooth and Peaceful Transition into the Post-Qaddafi Era”, 23.8.11.

Le Monde, Paris, Libye : les rebelles contrôleraient la télévision d’Etat, (Libya: rebels seize the state television service), 22.8.11.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Brussels, “Statement by the NATO Secretary General on the situation in Libya”, 22.8.11.