Robin Yassin-Kassab

Victory in Tripoli

with 4 comments

After six months of struggle, the Libyan revolution has arrived (again) in Tripoli. There may still be a trick or two up the megalomaniac’s sleeve, but the news coming in at the moment suggests a precipitous collapse. Saif-ul-Islam al-Qaddafi has been arrested. The tyrant’s daughter Aisha’s house is under the revolutionaries’ control, as is the military base of the formerly feared Khamis Brigade. The brigade in charge of protecting Qaddafi himself has surrendered. (The foreign supporters of Qaddafi and his supposedly ‘loyal’ subjects must be feeling rather silly now). Inhabitants of Tripoli’s neighbourhoods are pouring into their streets to greet the revolutionary forces.

Much of the credit for this victory must go to the revolutionaries of Misrata and the Jebel Nafusa. While the Transitional Council in Benghazi was busy fighting itself, the people of Misrata fought their way out of Qaddafi’s siege and then liberated Zlitan. The fighters of the Jebel Nafusa broke the siege around their mountains and then liberated Zawiya – which has suffered so much – and moved towards the capital. Last night revolutionaries in Tripoli, who have been launching small-scale operations nightly for months, rose in Fashloom, Souq al-Juma’a and other areas. Today they were met by their comrades arriving from the west and east.

Of course, the controversial NATO-led intervention has also played a major role. Western policy has been clever on Libya, winning friends by helping the people when they asked for help. Credit must be given where credit is due, and the West will understandably have deep credit reserves in the new Libya.

This will be worrying for anyone who wishes to see the Arabs shake off imperialist influence, and the Transitional Council does not inspire confidence either. It’s largely made up of ex-Qaddafi officials and it’s been too willing to have NATO go beyond its mandate to protect civilians. Some form of neo-liberal pro-West semi-democracy seems likely in Libya, at first at least; in fact that may be the best case scenario. There is an immediate danger that the revolutionary forces will now split into competing militias and that chaos will follow.

A semi-democracy would still be a great improvement on Qaddafi’s capricious and sadistic dictatorship. I very much hope the revolution continues and deepens and that the Libyans won’t settle for ex-Qaddafi officials – but that’s up to them. At least we’re in a position tonight where we can hope for that. If there had been no intervention, we wouldn’t be in this position. An Arab intervention would have been incomparably better, but the Arabs aren’t there yet.

So many martyrs have fallen, including, a couple of days ago, the cousin of our brave reporter Nafissa Assed. But tonight, as we enter the last ten days of Ramadan, there is cause for celebration. We congratulate the Libyan people on their victory, and thank them for giving a boost to revolutionaries around the Arab world. We remember the tens of thousands of martyrs murdered by the dictatorship since 1969. Takbeeeeeer!

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

August 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Libya

4 Responses

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  1. These transitions are so rocky as we are finding here in Egypt, and made rockier by the agendas of others. I hope that soon we will hear of the liberation of Syria.


    August 22, 2011 at 7:31 am

  2. You were right. It turned into relative chaos. Still, do you believe the intervention was right and well led?
    And what do you think about some reports which say that some claims made by the rebels at the time turned out to be false, that the situation was exaggerated?
    In France, we have an ex-diplomat in Libya, Patrick Haimzadeh, who says we could have negotiated with, at least, Saif al-Islam, and avoided the war, and the chaos that followed (I oversimplify what he said, but if you’re interested, I could transcript his words). Reading what you have written on the 26th of February 2011, it seems to me that Saif was not so popular, or well-perceived, that alleged…

    Prométhée Enchaîné

    January 27, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    • I think the intervention went too far when it tried to hit qaddafi rather than just protect civilians. I think more could have been done to disarm the militias once qaddafi had fallen. so i think it could have been done better. nevertheless, I think Libya today is in a much better situation than it would have been if the dictator had been left for months and years to murder his people. About 6ooo Libyans have died with the dictator gone, and almost 600,000 Syrians have died with the dictatator still present. I don’t think we should have negotiated with the unelected monster SaifulIslam.

      Robin Yassin-Kassab

      January 28, 2017 at 10:31 am

  3. […] This post originally appeared at QunFuz.Com. […]

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