6 months after the demonstrations and the ragtag group of poorly organized rebels set out to usurp the Libyan regime of Qaddafi, the fights have appeared to be on the brink of ending the 42 years dictatorship of the infamous leader.
On Monday, Qaddafi’s desperation has been clearly illustrated by the lack of control in Tripoli. Qaddafi;s regime has remained in control of only three site: a hospital, a military barracks, and the Rixos hotel. The loyalist forces in charge of the hospital,located in Tajoura,have supposedly negotiated their surrender this Monday morning, expediting the disintegration of the regime’s hold in the capital. The news only continues of progressive movement by the forces of the Transitional National Council, as reports have come in of gunfire exchange between loyalist forces and the rebels at the Rixos hotel, one of the last strongholds of Qaddafi’s forces. This supports the claims that 95% of the capital is under rebel control.
“A great majority of the capital of Tripoli is under freedom fighters’ control” – Guma El-Gamaty, Britain-bases coordinator for Transitional National Council.
With Saif al-Islam, Qaddafi’s son, captured, the forces of Libya are truly marching upon their “zero hour”. In Zawiya, one a much contested oil city in Libya, the rebels are celebrating with a hail of gunfire into the sky, setting off fireworks and chanting, “Libya is free!”. With the public either joining the freedom fighter or fleeing all together,it seems that Libya is underway to be completely under TNC control. Of course, there is yet to be a formal establishment of government or leadership as of the moment, but with Qaddafi nowhere to be found and the rebels advancing on the coastal stretch, it seem that the end of this fight will be coming soon.
The 69-year-old leader, Qaddafi, has urged civilians to take up arms against the rebel “rats” and with two of his sons capture, many have thought that the fight has become a much more personal one for Qaddai, ensuring that Qaddafi would remain in Tripoli to personally withstand rebel attempts at usurption. No. There has been little sight of public opposition and no reports of Qaddafi in Libya whatsoever, leaving many to suggest his flight to neighboring Algeria or Chad. Nevertheless, may the celebration be too soon in the coming?
“I’m being attacked right now. This is gunfire inside my house. There are inside my house.” – man identified as Mohammed Qaddafi
The Bab-alAziziya compound, home to the Qaddafi family, has been destroyed by NATO airstrikes and there are reports of further gunfire around the rubble as well. Furthermore, with Saif al-Islam, an outspoken defender of his father;s regime, in custody and potentially being tried by the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands,the last remnant of Qaddafi’s rule are disintegrating. The international community has come together to note that the dictator’s rule is “absolutely over”. However, the political statements have come at a time when there is still chronic fighting in the streets and loyalist forces still remain stubbornly entrenched in certain locales of Libya. Yet, after 6 months of NATO bombing, the international community has taken the signs of success has a vindication of their investment and assistance in the fight for democracy.
Nonetheless, the next fight, the fight for the future of Libya, has only just begun. Qaddafi is missing, his sons have been captured and the rebels are still pushing through pockets of resistance in Tripoli, but they do not have a plan for who is the right person to take the reigns of leadership. The presumed transition, to a council of varying identities and ideas for the future, raises the questions about whether the future government will be pro-West or anti-West, Islamist or secular of somewhere in between. The problems with the transitioning period are all to apparent in Egypt, where the established military junta has already come under fire from the same activists that fought for its establishment.
“Weeks from now, we’re going to see the beginning of a tension between the more Islamist part and the more secular part of the Transitional Council” – Walid Phares, Middle East analyst
Another important facet for the future are the military arsenals throughout the country. Qaddafi is known to have stockpiles a large amount of chemical weapons and explosives, which combined with the already impressive display of Western armaments in the hands of the rebels,may serve as a useful tool for any leaders planning on forceful takeover. Therefore, civil order is important and the role of NATO as a mediator, now and in the coming months, will be very important. In conjunction, the United Nations Security Council has also promised its assistance to the rebel in all ways: political, legal, diplomatic,and financial.
“A season of conflict must lead to one of peace” – President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
With the emergence of Saif al-Islam, mocking all suggestions of his capture and thoughts of a swift TNC victory, the situation in Libya has only grown more confused. Whether or not Saif had been captured has not been reported upon, but with Mohammed, another Qaddfi son, escaping capture, the supposed cohesive union of rebels seems to have many flaws. The international community cannot believe any reports coming from Tripoli of TNC success as entrenched battles only continue to worsen. Moreover, the fight for Saif al-Islam seems to be more a political one, driving reporters around only to secured Qaddafi neighborhoods to combat ideas of the TNC pushing through Tripoli. Clearly,the situation in Libya will be on to monitor closely as the situation is not as simple as it was made out to be yesterday.