It appears that rebel groups in Libya have check mated the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi by taking key cities and advancing on the capital Tripoli. After some ferocious fighting, Gaddafi has nowhere to turn and the end is undeniably nigh. Reports the BBC:
Heavy fighting is taking place in Tripoli around the compound of embattled Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi after rebels seized control of much of the city on Sunday.
Throughout the night, jubilant crowds remained in central Green Square, previously the scene of nightly pro-Gaddafi demonstrations.
Rebels met little resistance as they swept in from east, south and west.
A rebel spokesman says pro-Gaddafi forces still control 15-20% of Tripoli.
The rebels also said they had captured Col Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, but there is no word of the colonel’s whereabouts.
Gaddafi must know he cannot survive as leader of his nation, and whether he opts to flee the country or fight it out till the end remains to be seen. Either way, Gaddafi will reap the misery he sowed upon his people, either in the form of prison, execution or exile. Regardless of what one might think of the Western attack on Libya, there can be no denying the brutality of Gaddafi, and his defeat should be cause for celebration around the world.
However, it is worth paying attention to what happens after his departure – the West has long wanted to get its hands on Libyan oil, and it will be interesting to see what type of pressure they put on a new government. While many people who supported the West’s attack on Libya, they should be under no illusion as to why we felt the country was so important (hint: it wasn’t Gaddafi’s atrocious human rights record).
To claim that this victory vindicates our foreign policy is simplistic and wrong, and those who argue for more intervention in the Middle East should not forget the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. We may well have helped the Libyans overthrow a nasty dictator, but given the tyrants we usually find to control countries we have invaded, it is still worth remaining highly skeptical.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.