Will Violence in Libya Mean 'Stalemate' for Democracy Movement?
|Wednesday, April 6,2011 15:22|
The primary goal of the uprisings throughout the Arab world is to put power back into the hands of civilians, after they have been ruled by internationally-backed tyrannical powers for a long time.
Egypt and Tunisia managed to remove their dictator leaders; however, the political future of these countries remains to be seen as military intervention in Libya threatens the democracy movement in the region.
Egypt and Tunisia managed to avoid major crackdowns; however, the regime in Libya quickly crushed the demonstrations from the beginning and later ended up a civil war between armed protestors and repressive state forces.
As Gaddafi continued to repress his people, the United Nations was forced to enforce a no-fly zone to bomb the regime's military. This international response is largely due to the nature of the revolutions taking place in Egypt and the pro-democracy movement that has followed in its wake.
The nature of politics in the Arab world has changed and has left many groups, Islamist and others, on the fringes of the political arena. The traditional dividing lines between opposition groups and movements has changed and no longer includes a tug of war between Muslims and non-Muslims and the Arab world and the West, but focuses on pro-democracy versus counter-revolution.
People are now turning to the US to see whether or not they are loyal to their claims of pro-democracy and this will determine their credibility.
So, as the Arab world changes, the outside world is also being forced to adapt to the new definitions and the changes in thinking have now been manifested in the West's attack on the Libyan regime. If the US had not intervened in Libya it would have been blamed for failing to support democracy and obviously this would have had a negative impact on US interests in the Middle East.
The US has quite a task ahead as it seeks to remove its long-term reputation as a supporter of Arab tyrants and dictators. In attacking the regime in Libya the US has managed to keep itself on the 'side of right'.
US-led air attack has not succeeded in removing Gaddafi from power and it also has not secured the safely of civilians in fact, it threatens a repeat of the Iraq scenario. This entails great loss for democratic movements. It also gives counter-revolution groups the opportunity to give a negative image of protests in other countries in the region. In turn, this would play into the hands of Salafists who oppose the uprisings, which is, perhaps, one of the most significant threats to the success of the revolutions.
In Libya , the violence has done away with the initial aims of the uprising that include an end to Gaddafi's dictatorship and the development of institutions that are designed to protect people's freedom and liberty. As the democratic movement in Libya shrinks, talk is focused on oil revenues, military support and help for civilians.
The last resort to save Libya and the democratic movement in the region is that diplomacy rather military power should be used to defuse the situation.