The World Today for December 24, 2021

NEED TO KNOW

Through the Past, Darkly

LIBYA

Muammar Gaddafi was a brutal dictator who ruled Libya for four decades. After rebels killed him in 2011 during the Arab Spring, his death left a power vacuum that resulted in a bloody civil war that continues to this day. Now his son wants to be president.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has said he would help usher democracy into Libya if he wins the presidential election that was scheduled for Dec. 24 but postponed to January this week, the Daily News reported.

But he might return the North African country to conditions that could resemble his father’s reign. As the Washington Post explained, the International Criminal Court sought the younger Gaddafi on charges of crimes against humanity for murders and persecution that he allegedly oversaw. He was never extradited but rebels imprisoned him for several years and sentenced him to death before his release under a general amnesty in 2017.

The younger Gaddafi could portray himself as a third candidate who would not represent either of the two factions that have been warring for control of the oil-rich nation, Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Al-Monitor wrote.

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Dbeibah runs the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli. He’s obviously failed to unify the country. Haftar, meanwhile, controls the country’s eastern region. He has besieged Tripoli to take control but has failed in his military ambitions to take over the country. Meanwhile, both haven’t been able to stop other militants, including the Islamic State, who also operate throughout the region.

Russia, Turkey and other powers have also deployed troops to Libya or are backing local fighters, added Voice of America.

Infighting over election protocols, candidate eligibility and other issues forced officials to postpone the elections, Reuters added, further underlining how the people in charge can’t seem to put the past behind them, govern and move the country forward.

“Libya is in a state of limbo at this point because whatever happens is going to be sub-optimal in this very polarized pre-elections environment,” Andreas Krieg, a security expert at King’s College London, told TRT World, a Turkish state-owned news outlet.

International leaders are divided over the issue. Western and UN leaders want someone, arguably anyone, to win so a single person might run the government, Foreign Policy magazine wrote. Russia, meanwhile, favors chaos because that undercuts the West’s goals. The Center for Strategic & International Studies detailed how Libya is one theater in a larger conflict between East and West.

The sad truth is that many Libyans might associate the Gaddafi family name with peace and prosperity because no one has ushered in those things for Libya in the past decade.

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