It marks the end of a dictatorship that was funded by gas and oil reserves. Gadaffi’s Libya had it all but the leader’s personality was the fatal flaw and now he has become another of the popular Arab uprisings against dictatorships.
Colonel Gadaffi, as he was first known when he seized the ancient kingdom of Libya, is no more.
After 42 years he has been seized by his vengeful subjects and shot in the street. It is doubtful that the uprising against him would have been successful without the bombing campaign of the mainly UK and French aircraft. The campaign was sanctioned by the UN as a defence of civilians who were in danger of being caught in the middle of a civil war between Gadaffi loyalists and a popular uprising.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy were both newcomers to the world stage. Both needed an international coup to establish their presence and Gadaffi gave them the opportunity.
President Obama encouraged them, from a distance. He did not want to be seen as a US President bringing down a Muslim leader. But from the beginning the army of insurgents against Gadaffi was amateur, untrained and lacking in leadership
It was the sustained bombing campaign that won the day. Gadaffi’s air force was destroyed at an early stage and the French and British bombers had the skies to themselves. The training and experience will be stored away and probably used at a later date. Not a drop of blood was lost by the NATO forces yet they won the day against a professional army that was well equipped.
What have I ever done to you?
Gadaffi had retreated to his home town where he was still a hero. But the bombing campaign that had won in the capital of Tripoli again defeated him. He was planning to flee in a convoy that was hit by a NATO strike and took cover in a street drain. When he was dragged out one his captors said Gadaffi said to him , What have I ever done to you? and pleaded for mercy.
None was given and after some ill treatment he was shot. One motive for the instant killing may have been that Gadaffi was on a wanted list from the International Court of Justice.
He would have been taken to the Court in the Hague, in Holland and given a life sentence after a lengthy trial. His fellow countrymen did not want that, they wanted revenge.
The hope will be that the governing council taking over is a moderate and not radical islamist government. This is by no means certain.