Libya is going through a revolt resembling the Middle East protests of the last few months, the only difference being that the people are armed, setting a new example for those waiting for their turn, turning revolutions into civil wars.
Muammar Gaddafi announced a war against imperialism in the televised address he gave his supporters on Tuesday night. He stated that the Libyan people loved him and promised to provide his supporters with weapons in order to defend the country.
In his address, the Libyan leader once again placed the responsibility for the situation in Libya on the international forces. He then appealed to young Libyans asking them “not to get a wink of sleep at night” and at the same time to sing, dance and rejoice. Gaddafi also appealed to all the neighboring countries to support Libya in the struggle against the Western coalition: “All Islamic armies must take part in the fight!”, the leader pointed out.
“This is not the first statement of this kind Gaddafi has made”, said political analyst Dmitry Babich. “I believe those who are fighting on Gaddafi’s side are already armed”.
The Libyan conflict has all the signs of turning into a full-scale civil war, especially now that the Libyan people are armed. But not only Europe is keeping close tabs on the situation in Libya – the neighboring states of Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan, Algeria, and Syria are as well. The unrest that sparked in Tunisia and then “infected” Egypt, Yemen and other countries may now be gathering new features – equipping people with arms. Will this example be picked up by their neighbors?
Can one fool turn into many?
“Of course there is a kind of domino effect, but that doesn’t mean all the countries in the Middle East will follow Libya’s lead”, believes political analyst Sergey Strokan. “Every country that picks up the torch will take advantage of the other countries’ experience and adapt it according to its own specific character. All Middle Eastern countries are in the risk zone because they all have similar problems – unemployment and poverty, lack of independent mass media and grave social problems”.
Among the countries in the Middle East however, Libya is believed to be one of the most prosperous and richest and one of the few with a totalitarian regime, which cannot but distinguish it from Egypt and Tunisia, and their methods of protesting.
“A lot of countries have now gone through this period of protests and disaffection; the majority managed to rest satisfied with demonstrations, but Libya would not have accepted a peaceful way of dealing with its problems. Gaddafi soon understood people were ready to fight for their wellbeing, and he didn’t hesitate to return the compliment”, stated Alexei Vasilyev, head of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
A political analyst and orientalist Alekxander Shumilin shares this point of view: “The sequence of events in Libya has proved an obvious truth – bowing before people like Gaddafi and supporting them will only lead to catastrophes and tragedies. People in the Middle East want to get rid of their decades-long authoritarian regimes, but they don’t want victims”.
“We cannot predict what will happen in each and every Middle East country, but it is possible to mark out three versions of how things may develop”, Strokan told RT.“The first scenario is the so-called Egyptian one – the most peaceful of all three. It involves demonstrations and protests. The second one is what we see in Libya today – an all-out civil war, when every side is fighting to the bitter end. And finally the third scenario, let’s call it the Bahrain scenario –is halfway between Egypt and Libya. There is no doubt the regimes will fall one by one, but when, how and in what sequence is unpredictable”.