Usually when there is any battle between two factions, the stronger of the two wins. It triumphs because there are more of them, they are better organised or have better equipment.
This is NOT the case in Libya. Without the NATO intervention, there is absolutely NO WAY that the so-called rebels would have conquered Gaddafi’s army. NATO had to provide air support and effectively fight most of the battle as the rebels careered up and down the road in their Toyota pickups firing their guns into the air and posing for macho pictures.
So what happens now? Does NATO continue to hold the rebels’ hands? Once NATO backs off and the Gaddafi supporters wake up, they will soon realise that it would not take much of an effort to overwhelm the former rioters.
There are scores to be settled, relative seniorities to be re-established and government coffers to be plundered.
Tribal leaders will want to make sure that their people are heard at government level. Women will want to continue to be heard and respected.
For instance, it is only since 1969 that women’s rights have been on the agenda. Under Gaddafi’s predecessor King Idris, even the education of women was frowned upon and positively discouraged.
Without NATO, the rebels who appear to have Allah (but more importantly, NATO) on their side are a bit like the bespectacled playground wimp who has been adopted by the school bully. He can say and do whatever he likes to his enemies but only for as long as the bully is behind him. Otherwise, he’s in big trouble.
If , like me, you have always had a feeling that there has been something missing from the whole Get-Gaddafi production – apart from hubcaps – it was a total lack of any expression of idealism, binding ideas, political concepts or the future.
The rebels do not have common political beliefs. All that they have is a common enemy. THAT is what has been holding them together for six months.
Once Gaddafi is gone, the glue which held the rebellion together will be gone. There’s no stronger bond than that provided by fear or hatred of a common enemy. Then, new enemies will be sought. Unfortunately the new enemies will be former neighbours.
As I have said before, this has NOT been about the D-word (democracy). This has been about power.
Power is OK if you genuinely want to do something with it – but it looks increasingly as if the Libyan Islamists are becoming the most influential group within the National Transitional Council. That does not bode well for “democracy and freedom” – especially for women.
It looks as if the school bully may have to stay-on much longer than has been anticipated.
Even post-euphoria, the “conquering” rebels will have over-high expectation levels. Within weeks, we should fully expect to see demands for better living conditions, more income and lower prices. The D-word will be consigned to the slogan drawer from which it should never have been taken and the Mullahs will slowly seep even further into Libyan society.
Those flags that everyone in Libya seems to be waving – the plain green Socialist Arab Peoples Gaddafi-supporters’ flag, versus the rebels’ 1951 Independence tricolor – where have they all suddenly appeared from? It’s as if boxes of flags magically materialised out of thin air!
Now what was it I spotted on one of the flags? It looked like a maker’s name…must have stood for Created In Algeria.
Can’t be! What a coincidence!
They’ll know what to do once the post-Gaddafi explosions start.