This is the first time in history that Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood welcome what is supposed to be a « victory » for Western forces.
It is the presence of members of Islamic-terrorist movements among Libyan « rebels » --as well as the many atrocities committed by « rebel » forces against black Africans -- that the mainstream media are now largely ignoring.
Winning the war took five months – not exactly a demonstration of strength and may instead appear as a demonstration of weakness: if the U.S. military combined with the French and British armies needed five months to defeat a Third World dictator who had agreed to disarm, how can they possibly dissuade better equipped dictators?
Winning the peace looks like an impossible task, especially as nobody is in charge of this mission. The commander of the Tripoli Military Council, Adbelhakim Belhadj, is the former head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an al-Qaeda affiliate. The commander of the Benghazi Military Council, Ismail Al Salabi, is a former high level member of the same group.
Article 1 of the Draft Constitutional Charter for the Transitional Stage says : « Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia). »
Those who have guns in Libya today are people who have a jihadist past, and who, until recently, maintained close links with people against whom the U.S. military is now battling in Afghanistan.
Some members of the provisional government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), also belong to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The President of the NTC, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, was Minister of Justice under Gaddafi until the war began. He was President of the Tripoli appeals court when the Bulgarian nurses were sentenced to death, and he twice upheld the death sentences. He was a zealous servant of the regime until the last minute. When he was dispatched by Gaddafi to negotiate with the « rebels » at the beginning of war, he defected.
At best, Libya will become a country where an appearance of democracy will cover the reality of an authoritarian Islamic regime.
At worst, the country will slide into a prolonged civil war, and become a rear base for radical Islam.
When the war to topple Saddam Hussein began in 2003, and many in France were organizing protests, and chanting « no war for oil, » French political leaders, almost unanimously, began denouncing a « unilateral action » undertaken without the approval of the UN. Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin gave moral lessons and proclaimed that « no one can use force to install democracy » -- as if the only systems that can be installed by force are dictatorships.
At the time, France was a member of the so-called « peace camp, » along with Germany and Russia ;and France had a good reason to support « peace »: French oil companies and the French government had signed lucrative contracts that, with the overthrow of Saddam, went up in smoke.
A few months later, although weapons of mass destruction could not be found, « weapons of mass corruption » were ; and led to well-stocked bank accounts, many of them French.
In mainstream European and American media, links between Saddam Hussein and various Islamic terrorists movements were largely ignored, and atrocities committed under Saddam Hussein were, too. When jihadi [holy war] terrorists started to hit U.S. troops and the population, they were described merely as « insurgents. »
Even though many mistakes were committed, at the end of 2008, Iraq was a stable country : elections were held despite massive death threats to voters; a free press existed, and newspapers proliferated. Winning the war had taken three weeks. Winning the peace required five years, during which many American soldiers and many innocent Iraqis died and were added to the two million victims of the former regime who were found in mass graves.
In 2011, a war was fought to overthrow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and it is not over yet. No one has mobilized : officially, it was, and still is, not a war but a « humanitarian operation » to « protect civilians. » Nevertheless, it was, and still is, a war ; and the protection of civilians was apparently a mere pretext. Nothing was done to protect civilians from the « rebels » or from Gaddafi's forces. The new Libyan authorities, who have no incentive to boost the numbers, talk now of at least 50,000 dead.
If the war in Iraq was not a war for oil -- and is it necessary to recall that U.S. oil companies have not been very well treated by the new Iraqi authorities ? -- this time, in Libya, it is really a war for oil: as revealed by a document recently released by the French daily, Liberation, it is very specifically a war for French oil contracts.
No one has yet denounced « unilateral action. » Although the operations were supposed to be carried out on behalf of a motion from the United Nations Security Council, they have exceeded by far the text of that motion, and have reduced it to a scrap of paper.
Further, this time there have been no organized demonstrations by people with progressive leanings against the war in Libya, probably because the war in Libya is a war in which Western powers helped people who are basically similar to those whom they consider enemies of the West.
French leaders have denounced nothing because this time they were the prime instigators. They cannot even complain : even though most of the operations were conducted by the U.S. military, the U.S. government let France step forward and present the « victory » over Gaddafi as a « French victory. » What was denounced by French leaders as immoral in Iraq suddenly became moral to them : the goal in Libya was to install « democracy », and force had to be used.
France has good reasons for changing its moral standards and for being in the « war camp » this time, but these reasons are not the result of a change in policy: Sarkozy is not a « pro-American » President ; he follows the old cynical rules of the « Arab policy of France » in the new context resulting from the Arab revolts. The French Government has agreements with the new power in Tripoli, and hopes they will pay off.
No one knows yet whether there are networks of corruption, but extremely dangerous weapons, such as heat-seeking missiles, have left the arsenals of the former Libyan regime and may have ended up in the hands of groups linked to al-Qaeda in the Sinai, in Gaza, and in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Whatever his crimes were (and he committed horrible crimes), Muammar Gaddafi no longer had links with terrorist groups: he had agreements with American and European intelligence services, and, since 2003, when he agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction programs, cooperated with them in the fight against al Qaeda and international terrorism.
The fact that the war was won without ground troops, except special forces, means that the « victors » will have no way to stop factional fighting if it occurs ; and in a country as divided as Libya, the outbreak of factional fighting is highly probable.
With respect to France, if the war in Libya was a war for oil, it could also prove to have been a war for radical Islam.
August 21, Hamas praised the Libyan « rebels' » victory. August 23, Hezbollah released an official statement hailing the « great victory for the Libyan people. » The Muslim Brotherhood sent its congratulations one day later, August 24.
Today, not only is Libya very far from being a stable country, but if it stabilizes quickly, it will be a miracle.
In a recent article about Libya, the military historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote that the only thing worse than starting a stupid war is losing it. The war in Libya was an extremely stupid war, launched against the will of the U.S. military and Defense Department. It ends with a « victory » that could easily become a defeat for the West and for the United States.