Libya: Divided and ruled, by foreign capital

By Giovanni Vimercati
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 26, 2013
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Less than two years ago the Western world rejoiced at the savage beating and subsequent death of Muammar Gaddafi. Libya became free, ready for democracy. Democracy in Libya's case meant a disproportional increase in sectarian violence and a puppet, Western-backed government (where, let it be clear, Gaddafi's former henchmen retained prominent roles) unfit to rule.

Elections had been postponed a year ago amid intensifying violence. Basic services such as garbage collecting, let alone hospitals and schools, are highly inefficient or absent in several cities.

The only freedom Libyans seem to enjoy is that of cursing their former, dead leader, though not exactly everyone is happy with the new situation.

Armed militias contend among themselves to control territories and refuse to bury their weapons. Islamic fundamentalism, as always in the aftermath of "humanitarian" wars, is on the rise. The streets of the Libyan capital are not safe at night. If this is freedom and democracy, it looks ugly indeed.

Now that a car bomb has targeted the French embassy in Tripoli, the ravaged Libyan nation is under the spotlight once again, but do not expect much light to be shed on the country's real situation.

French President Francoise Hollande routinely denounced the attack as an act of terrorism, urging the local authorities to find those responsible. Given the chaotic state Libya is in, it is unlikely that the fundamentally powerless government will even pretend to have the situation under control.

Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, had been most vocal in advocating the invasion of Libya in 2011, only to eager to wipe out any trace of his friendly relationship with Gaddafi and get a hold of his coveted oil. Other Western democracies followed suit, happy to get rid of an uncomfortable ally who had once been a bitter enemy. The consequences of their actions are now knocking at their doors.

Western media returns to Libya only when violence backfires, like on September 11, 2012 when the American ambassador was killed in Benghazi. The reality is that since the fall of Gaddafi's regime, there hasn't been a single day of peace. Once NATO left and journalists returned to their home bureaus, the situation has steadily worsened. The disarmament plan and the reintegration of militias into the army have failed.

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