The Curious case of Muammar Gaddafi
On Monday morning many of us in the free world woke up to news of rebel victory in Tripoli. The Twittersphere was saturated with updates on how rebels had swept into the capital and how the city had fallen. Soon we would all be on our marry way and Libya (as was the case on Egypt and Tunisia) would have outlasted its 48hour news cycle. There is however a lot to be said about the air of optimism that seems to have swept into the minds of people as a result of the news.
Firstly it is worth noting that although rebel forces are controlling a large part of the city, the regime is firmly in control of the key areas of the conflict, chief of which is the hotel in which many journalists reporting on the conflict are based. This makes it increasingly hard for any verifiable information to surface from the conflict. Secondly and perhaps most importantly there is a distinct lack of credibility that is now sweeping into the ranks of the opposition forces. On Monday a member of the National Transitional Council Waheed Burshan had issued a statement saying that “we had confirmation Saif al-Islam was arrested, but we have no idea how he escaped”. This was proved to be all too true as Saif was seen mingling and shaking hands with his father’s supporters and even going as far as saying that Libya is still under the control of the regime.
When the UN took a joint resolution on Libya it is clear that this phase of the conflict was not thought out. As rebel forces are now in Tripoli NATO has the problem of not knowing who to communicate too and what the status is on the ground.
The fact that there is no credible figure heard spearheading the transitional process makes the Libya conflict atomic. It means that there is no accountability and there is no one to go to really refute the conflicting reports that are coming for the capital.
Thirdly as residents are jubilant and the rest of the world is satisfied in the thought that the colonel has been ousted, there is however a pending question that looms that would do well to be answered as soon as possible. What about Gaddafi? Despite an International criminal Court warrant out for his arrested, there has been little news on the colonel’s whereabouts. The immediate arrest of Gaddafi is an essential and non negotiable part of the transitional process.. So far Libya runs the risk of becoming another Iraq. If Gaddafi becomes another Saddam Hussein, Libya could be crippled for years as they wait for proper punishment to be administered.
There is an argument however that says that the only logical thing to do would be to send in troops. Well in the wake of Iraq and because of agreements made between the US, the UAE and other regional partners it was clearly stated that there would be no boots on the ground. Despite not supporting the dictator other countries in the region are firmly against the invasion of an Islamic country. Unless rebel forces have the power and resources to capture Gaddafi he might be ousted but never caught.
Many would say that “he can run but he can’t hide” that he will essentially have to stay in the country until he is either killed or captured. To that argument I say one thing “Sudan”. It is public information that after having been charged with war crimes Sudanese President Omar al Bashir made his way to Libya. Sudan does not subscribe to the jurisdictional rules of The International criminal court. It only stands to reason that if Gaddafi wanted to go somewhere Sudan would be the ideal place. This however is the narrative that is not making its way into the new sphere, and more worryingly this is not the narrative that was planned for in the beginning.