Six months and on almost 100,000 casualties, over half murdered by Gaddafi, what’s next for Libya? The first thing is for the National Transitional Council to unite the separate factions. While most Libyans support them the ‘rebels’ are still very un-united in how Libya will be ruled. They will have to ensure Libya remains one country and that people do not try to take advantage. The other major obstacle will be to ensure Gaddafi, his sons, and Gaddafi loyalists are tried by the International Criminal Court or the Libyan Courts, and do not succumb to mob justice if, and when Gaddafi gives up.
In what was a stalemate until the start of last week, the rebels made remarkable progress. First the rebels take control of the last remaining oil wells in Gaddafi’s hands, then his Oil Minister flees to Tunisia then Zawiya is taken and retaken it was a busy week. Next, the rebels repel Gaddafi’s attempts to retake the east of the country and march on Tripoli. Once in Tripoli they were welcomed with open arms with people celebrating as the rebel troops moved in. Even with Gaddafi’s rallying call to Tripoli’s’ residents, the rebels met far less resistance than was thought. Tripoli has not been destroyed and what little infrastructure there was has been preserved. It is obvious that Libya is not going to turn into another Iraq with factions blowing the hell out of each other.
Once the NTC has established its control over the various factions it has a very hard job to do. It will have to find and remove Gaddafi loyalists from the Civil Service, and army, write a constitution and hold elections for a Parliament and President. It will also have to start building schools and hospitals which have sadly been lacking in the 42 years of the Gaddafi regime. In addition to this it has announced that it will be able to start producing 1.6 million barrels of oil a week within three weeks. This is good news for oil prices, and especially here in Britain, when petrol prices are too high and set to rise.
The NTC have a tough task on their hands once they have captured Gaddafi. They need to resolve the many internal issues that Gaddafi has created. There is no health or education service and the country is large and there is little infrastructure besides the oil refineries. They have to build the infrastructure and educate the country at the same time. The NTC spokesman thanked the NATO forces, specifically UK, US and France for their help, especially in the early days, however NATO, the UN and the international community has a big role to play over the next few years in securing Libya’s democratic future and its infrastructure. To quote Churchill “…this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Libya has and will have the eyes of the world on it as it progresses. The NTC has been recognised for some months now as the legitimate government of Libya by several countries including the UK and US. It is now up to the NTC to prove that they can live up to the expectations of the world. I wish the NTC and Libyan people good luck and God speed on their journey to democracy.