If the foreign powers invading Libya now had not happened, Gaddafi would have quelled the rebellion that threatened his 42 year old regime. There would have been peace and normal life would have begun and mediation teams would have started peace talks to resolve the situation.
However, with the international intervention, Libya is still in chaos which is further exacerbated by the reality on the ground which is that the opposition against Gaddafi in Libya is skeletal and lacks any drive to topple the government even after six days and nights of bombardments against Gaddafi defense lines and military installations most of which were empty except unmovable facilities. The coalition air strikes have been intensed but have so far failed to tilt the tide in favour of the opposition.
Thus the intervention which was to save civilians in Libya has rather escalated civilian conditions. Cruise missiles and tomahawks have been dropped on innocent citizens and have increased civilian casualties. The casualty rate of civilians would have reduced if they had surrendered, but with false hopes raised by the international community, rebels who take up arms will die because the international community is not in Libya to ensure no civilians are attacked. The help from the coalition forces have so far not improved the rebels’ conditions. Their leaders who are mostly out of the line of fire sit in conferences and talk whiles their brothers die back home.
This now exposes the international conspiracy to capitalize on the rebellion to get at their common foe – Gaddafi. France and the UK who tabled the UN resolution therefore have ulterior motives than that which meets face value or those extolled by their politicians openly. Libya’s oil reserve is the bait for this war. They are bombing Libya because of their business interests at stake should Gaddafi maintain power and take revenge on them. The US, eager as always had led the heaviest bombardments against Libya, their long time foe. The US particularly seems to be dithering in the Libyan crisis simply because they have no business interest in Libya.
Gaddafi who ruled the country for 42 years was particularly afraid of this moment and might have many strategies on his slip. He perhaps spent his 42 years planning and scheming for this particular moment. He knew all along that such a time would come because of actions (alleged sponsoring of terrorism) and his tendency to swindle and reap profits for his country from oil deals.
Now, he would have to call to task all those scheming and planning and effectively wade off the foreign invasion or face serious consequences (like the fate of Saddam Hussein) if he surrenders. He had always suspected that foreigners were conspiring with some of his people to topple him, now, he has all the evidence to back his claims that this was a war for Libya’s oil supported by rebels in his country and in his words “war against Islam.” Matters are made worse by the fact that Israel is pounding Gaza with missiles and no one questions that.
As a result, the wind of change might not look so good for the Coalition forces because majority of his supporters in Libya and elsewhere in the world who initially had doubts about Gaddafi as he was trying to repress the rebellion now feel Gaddafi might have been vindicated.
In intervening in Libya, the Coalition Forces have prolonged the civil war in Libya under the pretext that Gaddafi was marching into Benghazi to have a slaughter when it was clear no evidence could be adduced to support that fact because other towns that were taken over by Gaddafi’s forces did not suffer massive massacre. It was even announced that those who surrender and hand their guns over will not be attacked. The Coalition against Libya seems to favour a stalemate which will prolong humanitarian conditions and seem too eager to accept a divided Libya which most Libyans, even those in Benghazi, would not want.
Gaddafi is not yet set on stepping down. It is not in his making to step down. He is just 68 years, a prime age for most presidents in the world. He still has lots of military resources and military arsenals mostly buried in the desert. He still has the wherewithal to import arms despite an arms embargo on Libya. He still has lots of gold which could be sold in other African countries and used to finance mercenaries from other African and European countries to come and help him. One could envision how lucrative such a venture would be. In the past, mostly people from sub-Saharan Africa dared the desert and crossed into Libya for lucrative jobs. Gaddafi could exploit this to import weapons and mercenaries across the desert to Libya. Thus, the war has rather just begun and Gaddafi is set to wage a long war not only for his head but those of his supporters who feel that if they surrender, they could be targeted and killed anyway. It might come out that like the Mahdi conquers in Khartoum, weapons shipped and dropped into Libya will be intercepted by government forces or would be too technical to be used by the rebels.
So this lonely African-Arab man although somehow down might spring to victory against the invasion forces. The Arab league has remained silent on the situation in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and other Arab states where protestors are daily killed on the streets but has stepped up support for the Coalition invasion forces. What these Arab countries seem not to know is that most of them, if the tide changes, might also suffer the same fate Gaddafi is facing now, because to the west, they are just the same.
Turkey, a member of the NATO, is opposed to air strikes which are reminiscence of what happened when a NATO bomb was mistakenly dropped on civilians in Turkey. Turkey’s opposition to the air strikes could well tip the balance in Gaddafi’s favour. This is even helped by the fact that the US wants to hand over the operation to NATO.
Gaddafi is set on undermining the gains made by the Arab Spring uprisings which toppled Tunisian Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and is threatening the Arab world.
It is difficult now to say whether Gaddafi will follow them. If he does, the big question would be who takes over after Gaddafi. This is what is not clear. Will the Coalition forces mindful of their booty – Libya’s oil – impose a stooge on the Libyan people? Will there even be peace after Gaddafi? Will other tribes take up arms against others in retaliation? Will Libya be divided? Was it worth it intervening in Libya?