Opinion editorial - North Africa - Libya - Panafrica - Conflicts - Governance - Security
Libya: The dangers of leaving Gaddafi in power
The dangers of a post- 2011 revolution Libya with Muammar Gaddafi still in charge, the influence that Gaddafi’s violent resistance may have on other avaricious, power-hugging presidents in Africa and the affected will of a people to rise up against tyranny, oppression and abuse are reasons the ongoing coalition against Gaddafi in response to his war against his people ought to include an agenda to force him [Gaddafi] out of office and replace his regime with a people-centered regime.

It is almost commonsensical that if Gaddafi remains in power after the military bombardment of his country. He would continue to be a threat to his own people, resume terror actions that would subvert the West, deny access to oil and oil related contracts to European and US entities as retribution. Also, he would likely increase China’s competitiveness by supplying cheap gas to the growing power. To allow Gaddafi to remain at the helm of affairs in Libya would be a military, diplomatic, strategic and cultural setback of great capacity.

Notwithstanding the many arguments for or against the on-going intervention in the North African country, it is understood by almost all and sundry that allowing Gaddafi to remain in power would undoubtedly leave Libyans in danger. Even with the military intervention, he has not stopped attacking his people. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said there is "no evidence" that the Libyan government has ceased fire. Twice the regime has announced a cease-fire only to break it instantly. And as the BBC reports, the first violation of a cease-fire was with continued attempts to move forward and attack Benghazi, the second with a continuing bloody onslaught against the city of Misrata. With no assurance that an aggressive and erratic leader like Gaddafi can be tamed or ousted by the international community at the desire of his oppressed people, the willingness of people under similar regimes across Africa, to rise up against tyranny, oppression and abuse could be greatly affected. This must not be the case; power must remain with the people.

Gaddafi is showing that with brutality, the value of life and the ethical center dear to every human, the right to self defense can be trumped- making Libya a test lab for other oppressive power-hugging autocrats across Africa- from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Congo republic, Angola, Cameroun, and Equatorial Guinea to Swaziland. Evidence to the negative influence of Gaddafi’s approach to clinging unto power can be seen in events in Bahrain, Yemen and the Ivory Coast. These regimes took notes on the way things were going on until the intervention. Following Gaddafi’s examples, they concluded there was no international political will to oppose brutality against the opposition- that violence paid off and nobody would do anything about it anyway.

At least the coalition military intervention assured the leaders of Ivory Coast, Bahrain, Yemen and now Syria that regimes would not be allowed to commit crimes against humanity without impunity.

Since the implementation of the no-fly zone resolution, there has been no mention of regime change. But Gaddafi ought to be ushered out of office and brought to justice for his decades of brutal attacks against his own people. The people of Libya will be in danger for as long as Gaddafi remains in power, whilst the international community will have to deal with an angry and vengeful man who would most likely resort to nuclear empowerment, terrorism and crimes against humanity. Because the United Nations resolution authorizes UN member states to "take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack", there should be the possibility of ousting Gaddafi for the reasons mentioned in this article. Given the centralized character of the Libyan regime, and the fact that no major attack against civilians is likely to be undertaken without Gaddafi’s explicit endorsement, taking "all necessary measures to protect civilians" could be interpreted under specific circumstances to include ousting the Gaddafi regime.

The ad-hoc military coalition of the US, UK, France and other countries must include the protection of civilians and ultimately resulting in the removal of the dictator. This plan must be pursued in parallel with the support for democracy advocating groups, and civil societies in Libya, while isolating the countries’ fundamentalist entities.

This perceptibly anti-Gaddafi advocacy is not about the spread of democracy, a conspiratorial Western antagonism of a seemingly complex head of state, or an appetite for oil control. This is about establishing a world where governments are set up to serve the people, uphold and protect the rights of the people and answer to the people: A world where universal human codes of morality are upheld by every government. The unfolding story is indeed one of calculated political gamble by all sides involved.


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