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'Libya rebels to divide in victory vacuum'

Published time: August 24, 2011 09:26
Edited time: August 24, 2011 18:08

Rebel forces celebrate in the newly named Martyr's Square, formerly known as Green Square, in Tripoli (AFP Photo / Mahmud Turkia)

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Libyan rebels are united by hatred towards the current leader. Once Colonel Gaddafi is out of the game, they will turn on each other and NATO, predicts Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of London-based pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

­As the civil war in Libya rages, many say the country could go the way of Egypt and end up with a disillusioned society impatient for reform, but others believe it could be much worse.

Abdel Bari Atwan says there is a huge potential of Libya turning into a new Afghanistan.

The NATO-led regime change in Libya might well turn the country into a failed state, following the example of Afghanistan.

Once Gaddafi leaves power, one way or another – because it is simply impossible for him to fight the whole of the NATO – the National Transitional Council (NTC) will have huge divisions within its own rank and it is highly doubtful it will be able to keep Libya as a united state.

Abdel Bari Atwan predicts that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi will stay in Libya and nobody knows either where he is or what will happen to him, though he and his sons still have political power in the country.

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The editor doubts the Gaddafi regime can survive, saying “the most he can try to negotiate is a safe exit for him and his family.”

“The problem of post-Gaddafi era could be actually more problematic than the problem before the removal of Gaddafi regime, because there is a huge split among the rebels themselves.”

“The majority of people who are fighting Gaddafi are Muslim extremists or people who believe they must create an Islamic state in Libya,” Abdel Bari Atwan acknowledged, saying that legitimizing this group would be a great problem for NATO.

Once NATO decides officially to start a ground operation in Libya it will turn the rebels and Muslim extremists that are now fighting Gaddafi against the troops that would invade Libya.

People in Libya have never seen democracy and imposing will be a very long and complicated process. Democracy is a culture of practice.

“You cannot parachute democracy to people in Libya, in Iraq or Afghanistan,” the editor said.

“Talks about democracy are very sweet and we know about that. Under the banner of democracy the West intervened in Afghanistan and Iraq – and look what happened,” he said, recalling that it is the 10-year anniversary of the American invasion in Afghanistan this year.

“NATO is not a charitable organization” so there must be some sort of oil deal between the Libyan rebels and the alliance which helped the insurgents to gain everything by bombing out military objects of Libya.

“Libyan cake is lucrative and already shared” shared Abdel Bari Atwan and the NTC will pay the demanded price to aggressors: exploration contract and military bases.

“[The] Libyan future government should pay and will pay a very heavy price – this is not a free service” acknowledged the editor, saying the NTC definitely has a secret oil agreement with the NATO countries.

As for the UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement that NATO is going to stay in Libya as long as needed, that is a pure imperialism and the Libyan people will not tolerate this and will fight the aggressors, insists Abdel Bari Atwan.