Libya without Gaddafi: Chaos and collapse

Chaos, destruction and decay - this is the look of Libya, that used to be a blooming country, a year after the beginning of NATO air strikes. In mid-February of 2011, mass demonstrations demanding the resignation of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled the country for 41 years, started in Libya. The protests grew into an armed confrontation between the regime and the opposition, backed by the NATO forces.

The opposition formed the Transitional National Council in Benghazi that was declared the only legitimate authority in the country. After several months of bombing and fighting, that cost the country nearly 50,000 casualties, the ruling regime was overthrown. Gaddafi was killed on October 20, 2011 not far from his homeland - the city of Sirte.

As stated by the international human rights organization Amnesty International, NATO has not conducted a full investigation into the death of civilians during the raid in Libya and has not paid compensation to the victims. According to a senior representative Donatello Rover, the NATO leadership is constantly talking about the efforts they are making to protect civilians. However, they cannot simply dismiss the data on many sacrifices and give yet another vague statement of apology without conducting a thorough investigation.

Earlier it was reported that the international experts were able to establish the fact of killing of 60 and wounding 55 civilians. In this case, as follows from the statement of Amnesty International, NATO officials have recorded 55 deaths of Libyan civilians. In addition, human rights activists say that 34 more civilians were killed in a NATO airstrike at Mazhir settlement in August of 2011.

In this regard, Amnesty International called on the alliance to conduct a thorough investigation into all deaths of civilians and bring the perpetrators to justice. NATO must pay compensation to the families of those killed and injured, AI said. NATO, in turn, explains that it cannot investigate the alleged deaths of civilians, as today the alliance is no longer entitled to exercise any activity on the territory of Libya.

In March, the UN Commission on Libya issued a report confirming the deaths of civilians in air strikes conducted by the coalition, although it was emphasized that NATO commanders made every effort to avoid it. It goes about targeted airstrikes and early warnings of impending attacks to the population.

According to the human rights defenders, this does not exempt NATO from the responsibility. It is no coincidence that after the publication of the report of the UN, the Russian Foreign Ministry also called for a thorough international investigation into human rights violations in Libya on the part of the alliance.

Additionally, the need for an investigation of the crimes of Muammar Gaddafi's regime and activity of the insurgents that may be classified as war crimes was identified.

After the fall of the regime, all the worst-case scenarios came to life in the country: the coming to power of Islamists, tribal massacres, genocide of the Tuareg and the Tubu, complete disorder in the economy and ultimately the collapse of the state.

A clear confirmation of this is the processes that crystallized by early March, when representatives of the eastern clans have decided to separate from the rest of the country. On March 6, according to several sources, several leaders of the Libyan tribes and a number of field commanders at the meeting in the city of Benghazi announced an important oil-rich region stretching from the city of Sirte located in the central part of Libya to the border with Egypt "semi-autonomous." That is, the profits from the operation must now be directed into the Benghazi "piggy bank".

Of course, this caused outrage in Tripoli, where the Transitional National Council of Libya that controls next to nothing is located. Its head Mustafa Abdel Jalil threatened to use military force against the Cyrenaica clans, unwilling to share. But his anger was over quickly, as he admitted that the authorities do not have enough power and means.

However, the centrifugal aspirations in Libya have historical reasons. The country, artificially cobbled together after obtaining independence in 1951, was founded as a federation of the three historical provinces: Cyrenaica (Barca), Tripolitania, and Fezzan. Single centralized management of Libya emerged only at the end of the reign of King Idris, but the unity of the country was actually strengthened in 1969 when Muammar al-Gaddafi came to power.

Meanwhile, the actions of the Benghazi are fraught not only with the complete collapse of the country, but also the return to civil war. The Western clans will be left with virtually nothing as a result of the actions of Benghazi because the major oil and gas fields are located in the east.

Perhaps, a harbinger of further bloodshed was the attack that took place in Benghazi against the unidentified demonstrators in support of separatism, resulting in deaths and injuries to six people.

Shamil Islambek


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov