The end of Muammar Gadhafi regime seems certain as Muhammad Gadhafi, son of the Libyan leader, appears to have surrendered to opposition forces, shortly after his brother, Seif al Islam, was captured in Tripoli.
Al Jazeera is reporting that two South African planes sit on the runway in Tripoli. It is rumored that Zimbabwe or Angola may offer safe haven for the ousted dictator. Reports swirl that the Presidential Guard has laid down its weapons. Television images of street celebrations in the capital city and Benghazi suggest the Libyan civil war has reached its eleventh hour. NATO has formally announced its willingness to work with the National Transitional Council.
One way or another, this may very well be the end of 42 years of Gadhafi rule in Libya. While questions remain as to where the displaced tyrant and the members of his regime may flee, it also remains uncertain what sort of state will emerge in this political backwater. One hopes that the ecstatic reception of the demise of Gadhafi-dom will echo into the future shape and stature of a Libyan democracy, it may be too much to hope for that this will ultimately advantage America’s regional interests. In a complex, tribal state that has suffered its fair share of colonial arbitration, Ottoman imperialism and illiberal oligarchy our concepts of rule of law and liberal democracy may be beyond foreign.
We will know much more in the next day or two. Regardless, the time has come for Libyan independence. What that freedom affords the Libyan people remains to be seen. Of uniform importance, America’s role in the development of a brave, new Libya is yet to be realized.