This observer was stunned late last week, during a meeting in a Maghreb country with three high ranking former Libyan officials, among hundreds currently in hiding in countries bordering Libya. One of them, in all earnestness, asked me, “Do you believe there will be a counter revolution soon in the “Jamarariya (state of the masses)?”
The reason I was so surprised is that I was about to ask that very question.
Certainly many complaints are heard today in Libya about the do-nothing “non-government.” Increasingly, people in all walks of life are boldly complaining. What I have observed personally is that many reports on events in Libya are false. One recent false claims reports that Saif al Islam has married a Zintan tribe woman, and that he has been seen taking walks with his captors, who are defecting to his leadership. The Zintan military command categorically denies it.
There is clear and growing pro-Gadhafi political and military activity around Libya. It accounts for why NTC leader Mustapha Abdul Jalil warned the Gadhafi children against raising an insurrection. Given Saif’s current incarceration, Aisha Gadhafi is perhaps the most likely leader, given her intelligence, energy and strong commitment to replace “NATO’s rebels”, vindicate her father, preserve his correct legacy, and organize a reform movement along the lines that she and some loyalists were working towards –with the approval, she claims, of her father before his death.
Every night more pro-Gadhafi graffiti appears on street walls, buildings and around Green (Martyrs) Square. More activists appear every day. They assert that so far the NTC has not attacked them and they feel fairly free to speak out and even organize. It is anyone’s guess how long this situation will exist before a violent crackdown and open fighting begin.
It is difficult to gage the anti-NTC/ pro-Gadhafi mix and the extent to which each is propelling the increasingly unpredictable events in Libya.
Yet, with the elimination of Muammar Gadhafi, which was NATO’s clear intension from March 19, NATO correctly concluded that without Gadhafi’s charismatic leadership in Libya, any “Green counter-revolution” would be very difficult. That is what we are seeing today.
While the restive Libyan population appears to be rebelling against the NTC for a variety of reasons, today the urinating by NATO forces on the bodies of dead Afghanis is dominating the news and discussions is this pious Muslim country.
NATO has already lost much of its claimed public relations boost following its Halloween night end of the bombing. This is because of an accumulation of reports about NATO bombing of civilians in Libya, which are now becoming public knowledge. Libyan people are increasingly furious because more and more cases are coming to light concerning the high numbers of children killed by NATO.
In addition to the fury caused by the urinating NATO forces, NATO officials are being ridiculed for refusing to acknowledge that more than 11,000 bombing missions caused civilians deaths. They are scorned for claiming that NATO forces conducted themselves according to the higher moral and military standards, and sometimes put themselves at risk to avoid civilian casualties. The claims remind some of a similar ludicrous public relations campaign undertaken regularly by the Israeli government.
Signs from Libya point to continued volatility. Contrary to NATO claims that it put into place a “new democratic Libya,” the predictable next chapter is starting to unfold. It may bring the end of the NTC before the coming June elections, when it is scheduled to be replaced.
Franklin Lamb in doing research in Libya and can be reached c/o email@example.com