The Libyan Crisis : Keeping The Terrorists Out
A major concern as of now as we move towards establishing a Libya without Muammar Gaddafi.
As the revolution in Libya comes to an end, it is now time to decide the future of Libya and take decisions which will help it grow into the future and be a successful state.
We have seen what the corrupt, brutal, 42-year old regime of Gaddafi has done to Libya. Considering the amount of oil they have, they have tremendous potential and the finances to back them. Poor governance, corruption and the irrationality of the ruler in power, in this case Colonel Gaddafi has ruined Libya and has created insecurity.
A brilliant revolution took place in Libya during the Arab Spring. Though initially it started off as a revolution that emulated those of Tunisia and Egypt, the protests took a new turn altogether when Gaddafi used force to put the revolution down. He said that he would kill these protesters like “rats” and quell this disease. He called them terrorists from Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
Though this can be attributed to sole reasons of psychology and propaganda, it can also provoke serious thought.
As the few strongholds of Gaddafi comes down, the Libyan campaign slowly draws down to an end. But as the end comes near, there are new fears that unravel.
Libya lies in a situation that could be conducive to terrorism.
To begin with, there is no security or stability in Libya as of now. There is no police and there is complete lawlessness there. Terrorists could come into Libya and set themselves up there.
The Al-Qaeda is widespread around the area of Libya and its immediate vicinity. There are branches of the Al-Qaeda. It is also a known fact that some terrorist organizations received support from Libya during the Gaddafi regime. The Al-Qaeda elements in Libya come under Al-Qaeda Maghreb branch.
There are other countries and other branches which are active near Libya. Yemen is a good example. Yemen, Saudi Arabia and a few other countries come under the branch of Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Qaeda could send its fighters to Libya in order to use the present chaos to their advantage and set up their bases there.
Al-Qaeda has declared support of all revolutions against dictatorial regimes. Though the people of the countries in the Arab world don’t necessarily appreciate terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, these organizations have pledged support to the movements, albeit for totally different aims and objectives than the people want.
It is a very interesting fact that many Jihadis also come from Libya. During the time of the Mujahideen in the Afghan war against the Soviets, many Libyans had gone to fight. Many of these Libyans came from Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. Thus we cannot rule out the possible terrorist connections with the revolution.
This does not in any way state that the revolution in Libya is a terrorist one, but points out significant facts to ponder upon while deciding the future of Libya.
Besides, many countries have been apprehensive in recognizing the National Transitional Council because they believe that it has been infiltrated by terrorist elements. That is a serious allegation but it may not hold true.
Besides, the presence of any terrorist organization in Libya can prove to be really bad. We know that Gaddafi is hiding somewhere. We don’t know where. He could be in Libya or he could be elsewhere. We also know that he has gone with a lot of money with him.
At this point of time, terrorist organizations are struggling with finances. If Gaddafi pays money to any of the terrorist organizations, he will buy their loyalty and he could instigate an insurgency in Libya after the setting up of a new government. Depending on the number of people who are real terrorists, the situation will fluctuate.
This also prevents countries from giving aid to Libya because they fear that the terrorists will lay their hands on the money.
To counter this, we first of all need transparency. There should be more interaction between other countries and Libya. They should know who exactly they are dealing with.
Secondly, the NTC needs to pledge to weed out any terrorist elements in Libya, if there are any.
NATO and Libya’s allies like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria need to set up more intelligence and liaison relationships with each other in order to detect the presence of terrorists within Libyan soil.
Thirdly, Gaddafi needs to be found and should undergo a trial in the International Criminal Court as per the warrant issued against him and many members of his family and his close aides by the ICC.
Fourthly, possible terrorist elements need to be encouraged to give up terrorism and rehabilitation and reintegration measures need to be facilitated for the terrorists who have sought to give up terrorism.
Keeping terrorism out of Libya, or any country for that matter is not an easy matter. In fact it is much easier said than done. But the faster you implement mechanisms for a fail-safe, then the less we have to worry about the future of Libya.
Copyright © 2011 Ashwath Komath