The beginning of February 2019 marked the celebration of the success of the 1979 Iranian Revolution by the people of Iran. Even after 40 years of the shah’s disposition and the formation of the Khomeini government, the Iranians celebrate it as if this event had happened yesterday. Not every land is lucky to celebrate a successful revolution. A little far from Iran, on the northern coast of Arica, Libya is burning; burning on the remnants of a revolution that was sparked to oust the brutal Gaddafi regime.
The 17th of February, 2011 marked the beginning of the Libyan Civil war. Inspired and jealous of their neighbours- Tunisia and Egypt, Libya revolted against her dictator. Protests that started in the city of Zawiya with instances of public burning of the Green Book, a book that compiled Gaddafi’s ideology and philosophy on polity spread to Benghazi, gradually led to the formation of various rebel groups. These groups were formed by erstwhile Gaddafi loyalists, students, teachers, doctors and workers. People in the cities of Misrata, Tobruk, Tripoli, Zawiya and Benghazi were backed by these rebel forces and foreign power. The rebel groups even controlled the port city of Misrata with the British military assistance. Alex Crawford, the Sky News Foreign Correspondent gave an insight of the conditions in which the Libyan population lived and tolerated Gaddafi’s oppression. In her book, Colonel Gaddafi’s Hat, Crawford alleges Gaddafi of contracting foreign mercenaries, mainly from Sudan, Chad, Algeria and Nigeria to kill his own population. She records the firing done by Gaddafi loyalists on innocent unarmed civilians, who according to Gaddafi were Al-Qaeda agents and their attempt to prosecute every journalist who tried to cover these events. In October, the dictator fell and was publically killed by the rebels in the city of Sitre; a city where he spent his childhood became the city where his childish politics ended.
The end of Gaddafi created a political vacuum in the country where various factions contested for power in Libya with many radical Islamist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AOIM) and Ansar-Al-Sharia (an ISIL affiliate) entering the scene to make matters worse. In 2012, the General Nation Congress was elected as an interim government tasked to write and compile a constitution and conduct free and fair elections within eighty month. However, it failed to reform the constitution and failed to conduct elections before the deadline. Dissatisfied, Field Marshal Haftar, with neigbouring Egypt’s support over threw the General National Congress. This sparked yet another Civil War in 2014 with fighters from Misrata turning against Haftar who now controlled the oil rich part of Eastern Libya.
The Libyan crisis could also be understood as an oil conflict, both domestically and internationally. All the factions inside Libya, including the Haftar regime and a relatively new contestant, Benghazi Defense Brigade continue to fight for the oil rich regions of Libya. Muammar Gaddafi planned to introduce a Pan-African ‘Gold Dinar’ which would then be used for dealing oil. This new currency would have devastated the US Dollar thus affecting the American economy, or so what was known from the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails. A similar American led intervention was seen during the Iraq War when Saddam Hussain planned to trade Iraqi oil in Euros and not in US Dollar. These decisions were resulted in a US led intervention in both the countries; and the results are evident.
What will happen to Libya is a sad question. But the western intervention in the matters of every country with resource is a matter of debate; a matter of concern.
Pranav Kishore Saxena is Editor-in-Chief of the True Voice.