Published in the Globe and Mail, October 21, 2011.
Although the images of Moammar Gadhafi’s body being dragged through the streets are disturbing, one can understand why his death is being deliriously welcomed in Libya. Often regarded as a clown in the West, Colonel Gadhafi was a brutal tyrant. His death removes the slim chance that he, or forces loyal to him, might have staged a countercoup. The country’s Transitional National Council is still in a tenuous position, and this event signifies there’s no going back. But what does the future hold?
Of all the countries whose rulers have been changed by the Arab Spring, only Libya has really experienced a fundamental transformation of government. In Egypt and Tunisia, the rulers may have been deposed, but the new ones are cut from the same elites, even as they try to argue that they’re committed to another path. Only in Libya has a new ruling elite taken power, and they must try to forge the makings of a new country in the midst of a transition that’s still far from complete. They’re just now gaining full control over a historically tribal country, political parties are in their infancy, and the economy is just starting to recover – both from the fighting of the past few months and from Col. Gadhafi’s years of mismanagement… Read the rest of this article on the Globe and Mail website.