Is It Really All Over For Gaddafi?
It is evident that Libya has taken over most headlines as rebel fighters are said to have gained control of Tripoli’s streets over the weekend. However, as Barack Obama declares the regime “over” and David Cameron claims it is in “full retreat,” it is important to ask the question “but…is this really over?” Although control has arguably been portrayed to have swung in the rebels’ direction, the battle for Tripoli, and therefore Libya, is certainly far from over as loyalists prepare to fight to the bloody end.
Notably, occurrences in Libya are far from clear. Although the message of the rebels having won this gruesome battle against Gaddafi is being rapidly spread, many other important pieces of the Libyan puzzle are not being projected. Namely, NATO recently stated that it is unclear which areas are even currently controlled by the rebels and which are controlled by the loyalists. Moreover, the rebels have been struggling with internal clashes and disputes which continue to weaken their already limited level of leadership and governing experience. To add to this, the story behind the perceived kidnapping of Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, has surfaced as he made an appearance in Tripoli on Monday night to invalidate claims that he had ever been taken by rebels.
However, more layers add to the complexity of this story. Perhaps more accurately, the whereabouts of Gaddafi is also unclear. Having stayed out of he public eye for over three months and with Whitehall claiming that it has every possible eye looking for him, Gaddafi is being urged by David Cameron to essentially give himself up. Surely these are not the international signs that are projected when a conflict has finally come to an end.
It is clear that Gaddafi has not given up. Again, although the international community thinks that the end of the 42-year regime has finally arrived, it seems to be forgetting the many twists and turns the situation in Libya has taken since the beginning of its conflict over six months ago. Rebels and loyalists have succeeded and been pushed back numerous times in numerous areas of the country; there has not simply been one clear direction of success on either side.
Therefore, with claims that Gaddafi is in Tripoli and is promising that he will fight to the very end and die on Libyan soil if need be, it is fundamental that we do not lose sight of the notion that the ideals instilled in the loyalists will not merely evaporate and leave Libya “a free, democratic and inclusive” nation to echo Cameron. In fact, one could argue that Gaddafi’s power and ability of destruction will not disappear even after his death (whenever it may be). It is fundamental to remember the prospect that loyalists are not simply going to lay down arms and let a new government thrive.
With explosions, gunfire and grenades being most commonly associated with Tripoli at the moment, the fighting continues. Also, with claims from Saif al-Islam today that Tripoli is now under loyalist control, with the international world “keeping and eye out” for Gaddafi, and with the persistence of Gaddafi loyalists in fighting back, let us not be naïve in thinking that the Libyan dilemma is over. In fact, it is now more than ever that the complexity of the situation has increased.