By Erik Uliasz
Muammar Gaddafi was killed after being captured by the Libyan fighters he once scorned as "rats," cornered and shot in the head after they overrun his last bastion of resistance in his hometown of Sirte.
Three days later, the new leaders of Libya declared their country “liberated”, paving the way for an interim government.
But what kind of government will emerge in the “new” Libya? And could it be possible that NATO’s efforts could have pulled a rerun of Afghanistan of the 1980’s, where the CIA helped its people remove the Soviets only to have the country seized by the Taliban (who offered Osama bin Ladin a safe haven) in 1996?
Who Exactly Are We Siding With?
CNN, Oct. 21, 2011: Early on in the Libyan revolt, satellite television transformed revolutionary commanders such as Abdul Hakeem Belhaj, who is now the military commander of Libya's National Transitional Council, into larger-than-life political freedom fighters. But my contacts in Afghanistan claimed to recognize Belhaj from his days in their country in the 1990's as a member of Muqatilah, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Others recalled the Libyan fighters who lived on the outskirts of Peshawar in the decade between the anti-Soviet jihad and 9/11, when that town served as a destination for Islamists from across the Middle East. Some recognized cellmates from the United States' post-2001 detention centers. Some even claimed to have been asked to send foot soldiers to Libya. (Photo: CNN)
The "most problematic" fallout from Gaddafi's death, says Ed Husain at the Council on Foreign Relations, is "the emergence of Islamist extremist from within the ranks of the Libyan rebels." Islamist groups have been the biggest winner elsewhere in the Arab uprisings, and they may not welcome a secular government.
Add to that the west and their propensity to turn a blind eye with regards to backing unsavory elements in the short term in order to establish whatever greater goal of the removal of Gaddafi.
There has never been a clear understanding of who the leaders of the rebel movement are and/or whether some of the so-called freedom fighters actually had allegiances with Al-Qaeda and other extremists.
According to The Telegraph, one of the leaders of the Libyan rebels is even admitting that his "troops" include jihadists that were firing bullets at U.S. troops in Iraq....
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
More reports raise concens about the character of the rebels. CBS News recently quoted former CIA officer Bruce Riedel as saying the following....
"There is no question that al Qaeda's Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition. It has always been Qaddafi's biggest enemy and its stronghold is Benghazi. What is unclear is how much of the opposition is al Qaeda/Libyan Islamic Fighting Group - 2 percent or 80 percent."
It appears the U.S. Middle East policy has a schizophrenic nature to it, filled with blatant contradictions. Why are we on the side of al-Qaeda in Libya but against them in Iraq and Afghanistan?
And what type of government will these leaders create in the newly “liberated” Libya?
If you guessed a secular democracy, I’d wager you’d be wrong.
Meet the New Boss (es)
We're looking at Gadhafi being replaced by a "straight Sharia regime populated by al Qaeda elements," says Robert Spencer in Jihad Watch. The new America-backed regime will end up "being even more anti-American" than Gadhafi was.
The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil has set out a vision for the post-Gaddafi future with a heavy Islamic influence, saying that Islamic Sharia law would be the "basic source" of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified.
In a gesture that showed his own piety, he urged Libyans not to express their joy by firing in the air, but rather to chant "Allahu Akbar," or God is Great. He then stepped aside and knelt to offer a brief prayer of thanks.
These early remarks form Libya’s new leader do not bode well for a secular democracy.
But it will get even worse.
Even as the National Transitional Council (NTC) declared Libya “liberated” following the violent death of former strongman Col. Muammar Gaddafi, analysts were warning that civil war might continue to rage on as militia groups and armed factions struggle to seize power. And with real elections tentatively scheduled for 2013 at the earliest, the worst may be yet to come.
There are many critical and possibly irreconcilable fault lines dividing Libyan society — Islamists, liberals, tribal chiefs, ethic groups, Gadhafi loyalists, desert nomads, regional factions, and more. The potential for a new explosion of violence, therefore, exists and will persist.
Civil war is almost certain. Could this be the same blueprint the Taliban used to seize power in Afghanistan?
I enjoy watching reruns from the 1980’s -- The Cosby Show, Cheers, and Taxi, but this is one rerun from that era I hope I will never see.