People march against Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and demand an end to various militias. By Lee Jay Walker and Murad Makhmudov
22 Sep 2012
The death of the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, other American personnel and Libyans who tried to protect them continues to cause reverberations in this country. Many Libyans were genuinely shocked by the brazen Islamist attack which killed individuals who were supportive of the mixture of rebels, mercenaries and Islamists who joined forces with NATO in order to overthrow the government of Colonel Gaddafi.
In the ensuing chaos created by intense fighting which would ultimately witness the brutal murder of Gaddafi, it was hoped that a new start would begin for Libya. However, the reality of outside intervention, Islamist terrorist groups, mercenaries, covert operatives and NATO bombing meant the conflict was brutal. The so-called Libyan Civil War was tainted by outside nations like America, France, Qatar, the United Kingdom and others which paved the way for the demise of Gaddafi. Also, the internal mechanisms and fears by Gaddafi didn’t help because the national army of Libya was weak and the over-reliance on four crack units was clearly inadequate.
Irrespective if people were pro-Gaddafi or anti-Gaddafi, the grim reality was countless massacres on all sides but clearly once NATO became involved then the writing was on the wall. The national army of Libya wasn’t designed to protect itself from major NATO bombing and the same applied to the elite units. Therefore, once the “tide had turned” more and more massacres became the norm by rebel forces. This included the systematic slaughter of captured Gaddafi loyalists and lynching of black Africans.
Since the brutal murder of Gaddafi it is clear that you have no central authority in Libya. Not only is Libya a weakened nation state but Islamist and terrorists are now undermining northern Mali. Alongside this many Islamists, terrorists and mercenaries from Libya have now entered Syria on the bidding of America, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Qatar, France and Libya. The upshot is perennial chaos in Libya and Syria because of the same forces at play without the NATO bombing angle against the government of Syria. Meanwhile, northern Mali is yet another outside victim just like Laos and Cambodia were when America destabilized the Mekong Delta in order to crush Vietnam (this ultimately failed but vast numbers of Vietnamese citizens were killed).
Turning back to the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans and Libyans who perished when Islamists stormed the compound; then this event may witness “a new awakening” of individuals who are disillusioned by the endless cycle of violence and lack of central authority. This can be seen by tens of thousands of Libyans demonstrating against Ansar al-Sharia and other militias in Benghazi. In the ensuing demonstrations against Islamism, the various militias which are based throughout the country and lack of central authority, four individuals were killed. However, Ansar al-Sharia was forced to flee and other attacks took place against the Rafallah al-Sehati Battalion which is comprised of Salafists.
The events in Benghazi highlight the increasing frustration towards Islamists and various warlords which have turned Libya into “a failed state.” People demand greater security and for central power to return in order to shape a new identity whereby Libya “rises from the ashes.” It is too early to say if the events in Benghazi will alter the current status quo of mini-controlled zones by various militias. Yet, if the security situation isn’t reversed and the role of Islamism, corruption and continuing disintegration of social structures aren’t reversed; then maybe “a real revolution” may strike at the forces which overthrew Gaddafi but without outside prompting?
Libya remains in limbo and for the people of Benghazi their frustrations are rising because of the events of the so-called “Arab Spring” which in essence was always manipulated by more powerful forces.