[Globe & Mail, Canada]



L'Orient Le Jour, Lebanon

After Qaddafi: Arab Spring Looks More Like Spring Fever


"Once the intoxication of victory is over, Libyans must get down to the massive task of installing a credible democracy. This victory will be all the more tricky to manage because it must inevitably be shared - by way of commercial contracts - with the powers that actively contributed to it."


Editorial by Issa Goraieb


Translated By Elizabeth Burfield


October 22, 2011


Lebanon - L'Orient Le Jour - Home Page (French)

Front page of Saudi Arabia's Asharq Al-Awsat, Oct. 21.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Libyan authorities announce Qaddafi death probe, Oct. 25, 00:01:39RealVideo

It was from a "rat hole" - a narrow underground hiding place - that a bearded and disheveled Saddam Hussein was hauled, before he stood trial and completed his grim career swinging from the end of a rope. And it was from a sewer pipe, the preferred haunt of such unpopular rodents, that a fugitive Muammar Qaddafi - who took pleasure in treating the Libyan rebels like rats, or indeed cockroaches - was flushed out before being manhandled and shot down. For other deposed tyrants, such as Egypt's Mubarak who is appearing before a tribunal on a cot, or Tunisia's Ben Ali, who took refuge in Saudi Arabia with a portion of his loot, it has truly been a spring fever, Arab style.


Here, a sham trial with the verdict fixed in advance; there, an all-out lynching/summary execution, which caused the U.N. to call for an inquiry and Amnesty International to cry "war crime." The terrible fates of Saddam and Qaddafi have more in common than an ignominious end. These megalomaniacs bent on oppressing and pillaging their own people as well as generously supporting terrorist networks, led their populations on a descent into hell. There is also the rather disturbing fact that in the past, each was courted by the same powers that ended up decreeing their fall from grace. And, to differing degrees, both the Iraqi and the Libyan owe their fatal misfortune to foreign military interventions carried out in favorable international contexts and driven by motives often left unspoken, as there was more than a whiff of oil about them ...


Launched under pretexts that were quickly proven false, the Bush expedition undeniably rid Iraq and the region of a true monster, but it also plunged the country into appalling chaos. Bloody sectarian tension and secessionist plots were triggered by the invasion. These are precedents that the new masters of Libya, just emerging from 42 years of dictatorship, would do well to ponder: once the intoxication of victory is over, they must get down to the massive task of installing a credible democracy. This victory will be all the more tricky to manage because it must inevitably be shared - by way of commercial contracts - with the powers that actively contributed to it. The support provided by NATO's aerial strikes, which disrupted the deposed regime's machinery of repression, appears to have been decisive in every respect. The air force even seems to have gone so far as to track Qaddafi in his final attempt to escape, attacking his convoy and thus sealing his fate - although NATO insists with great aplomb that it was not aware of the presence of the ousted dictator in the convoy it attacked ...




Le Quotidien d'Oran, Algeria: West Betrays Principles with Qaddafi's Death

Berliner Zeitung, Germany: Dispense with Regrets Over Qaddafi's Killing

Kayhan, Iran: NATO was Mistaken; But Congratulations to Libya
Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Satisfying Times for Defenders of Freedom

Huanqui, China: Qaddafi's Demise May Mark New Global Democratic Era
The Daily Star, Lebanon: Qaddafi: Servant of None

Novosti, Russia: Libya: Russia and China Won't Get Burned Again
Novosit, Russia: Russian Duma Rejects Condolence Statement for Qaddafi
Estadao, Brazil: To Shorten Crisis, U.S., E.U. Should Look to Latin America
Yedioth Ahronot, Israel: Obama's Libyan Victory
Guardian, U.K.: Qaddafi's 'Trophy' Body on Show in Misrata Meat Store
Guardian, U.K.: Another Win for the Obama Doctrine
Daily Mail, U.K.: A Widow's Fury at 'Mob Execution'
Der Spiegel, Germany: German Editorial Roundup: The Death of Qaddafi


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Whose turn is it now? Crisis-hit Yemen and Syria were clearly the intended targets of a recent address by Barack Obama: Brandishing Libya as proof, he warned that rule of the iron fist must inevitably come to an end. Just yesterday, the first of these two nations endured a scathing rebuke of its president and a firm condemnation of state repression from the U.N.: Syria, which benefited from a Russian and Chinese veto, was recently spared such a humiliation. In both Yemen and Syria, however, the Libyan dénouement is likely to have the effect of galvanizing the protest movement, even if foreign intervention remains out of the question until further notice (or until further unrest?)



We Lebanese must also heed the lesson: the era of impunity in this part of the world is indeed drawing to a close - even if, in fits and starts, it is doing so only slowly - and this phenomenon can only benefit us. From the Arab Deterrent Force to Syrian occupation forces through to a short-lived multinational force, Lebanon's painful past has not lacked armed interventions by foreigners. Today, however, the country gets to try out a very different type of intervention, with an international court offering a rare opportunity to see punishment imposed for a political crime, an assassination masterminded from afar - the ultimate anomaly for a state that likes to think of itself as a haven of freedom and democracy. For this reason, Lebanon's spring will arrive via The Hague.


[Editor's Note: The author refers to the U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri].



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