Why Qaddafi Is Winning in Libya and What It Says About Us?
The recent turmoil in Libya has demonstrated the profound unpopularity of the dictator Muammar Qaddafi, and for good reason; Libya is one of the least democratic nations on earth. Many people expected Qaddafi be ousted fairly quickly after the successful uprisings in Tunisia in Egypt, but the regime has held on, and now appears to have the upper-hand. This begets the serious questions of why and how an unpopular dictator, in a time of sweeping change in the Arab world, is able to hold on to power so tenaciously.
Naturally, some of this has to do with the determination and will of the man himself, but clearly that would not be enough to stay in power once his own people wanted him gone, so there must be another reason. There is, and that reason is superior weaponry. As U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper remarked recently, “Colonel Qaddafi had a potentially decisive advantage in arms and equipment that would make itself felt as the conflict wore on.” That makes sense, but how did they get such sophisticated weapons? Isn’t Libya a state-sponsor of terrorism?
The United States has long had an arms embargo against Libya, because of Qaddafi’s notorious involvement in terrorist activities, although such restrictions have been ‘loosened’ somewhat in recent years, once Qaddafi gave up his quest for nuclear weapons. But that hadn’t stopped Russia, Britain, Italy, and France from supplying the regime with weapons, including aircraft and conventional arms. Of course these countries have since suspended arms shipments to Libya, in light of the popular uprising against Qaddafi, but the damage has been done, as Clapper noted.
All of this is to say, depressingly, that the major world powers still value money and security for their own peoples over democracy and a better life for the people’s of the world. The Libya situation is a sad indictment on morality in the world and shows that people still have a long road to travel to get to the enlightened place we want to be as a compassionate and loving race. The travails of history and so-called ‘human nature’ continue to haunt us.
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