On July 28th, General Younis, the rebel leader, was assassinated by the militia group known as Obaida Ibn JArrah Brigade, an Islamist group associated with the rebels. The assassination came as a “slap in the face” of the Western countries that have come to recognize the rebel National Transitional council as the legitimate government.
Earlier this week, Britain expelled visiting diplomats representing Col. Gaddafi, adding its name to a growing list of Western Nations that have recognized the rebel groups of Libya as the rightful source for the formation of a government. Along with the USA, the nations of the EU have actively supported the Libyan movement for liberalization, supplying rebels with funding and arms. Yet the supposed unity and righteousness of the Libyan movement has been thrown into disarray because of the apparent deception by fellow rebels. Blame has been thrown at the feet of al-Qaeda, as well as Gaddafi. As ever, turmoil has left the people of Libya seeking a scapegoat for retribution.
Ibrahim Beatelmal, the military spokesperson for the NTC (Naitonal Transitional Council), has stated that the death of the General will not lead to internal division; yet there have been persistent reports of low moral, fracturing, and rumors of potential internal purges. As history has shown, the use of purges has never served as a precursor for a successful government or movement. Moreover, with NATO’s and the EU’s support being questioned, the outlook for the Libyan rebel may be worse than thought.
With the global community in the draws of vast unemployment, debt, and general financial recessions, the billions spent on Libya are being debated and cut. The coalition of NATO countries partaking in the air campaigns are under strain by public opposition domestically, as well as reports for high civilian casualties (rumored to be 700) being directly caused by NATO air sorties. The USA has already limited its support by lending support indirectly through its European allies, who have also begun a withdrawal of their support. Italy has withdrawn its only aircraft carrier and half of its airforce contingent,mirroring Norway’s full withdrawal of all F-16 warplanes. With much of the pressure being put upon the remaining countries (Britain, France, Belgium, Denmark, and Canada), NATO’s involvement may be coming to a rapid end.
Furthermore, political negotiations have yielded as much success as the NATO bombings apparently, as Libyan diplomats have stated that the sides have only grown more apart, leaving peace talks polarized from either side. So saying, military involvements and political negotiations have both failed to yield a solution; rather, both have seemed to have furthered the degradation of the situation. With foreign funding and military assets, the rebel militia have experienced slim results which brings into question what the expectations my be awaiting once NATO is forced to depart. Evidently, the”Arab Spring” has not yielded the quick liberalism the troubled region had aimed at; rather, the “Spring” seems to be rolling towards a long future of turmoil and uncertainty.