Professor Yehudit Ronen, an expert on Libya and the Middle East in the Department of Political Science at Bar Ilan University, said on Sunday that she is unsure about the future of post-Qaddafi Libya.
Prof. Ronen spoke with Arutz Sheva several days after dictator Muammar Qaddafi was killed in his hometown of Sirte. While the National Transitional Council subsequently said that Qaddafi’s death was unintentional, conflicting reports about his death ranged from a lynch-style shooting after he was found cowering in a ditch - with accompanying lurid video - and being dragged alive and wounded through the streets, to simply being caught in the crossfire between NTC forces and Qaddafi loyalists.
On Sunday, the NTC formally declared that Libya has been liberated from Qaddafi, but Ronen said she is skeptical about whether the new Libya will indeed be a democracy.
“There are challenges and threats, chances and risks,” she said. “Only the future will tell. The Libyan arena is rife with violence and rifts in the struggle for power.”
She pointed out that there is an ongoing struggle in Libya, a country of tribal loyalties, where the liberals and the seculars face the radical Islamists.
Speaking about the intense hatred that was shown towards Qaddafi by his opponents at the time of his death, Ronen said that the outburst represented the 42 years that the Libyan people lost when Qaddafi was in power.
“He slaughtered his own people and put many in prisons,” she reminded. “They were unable to wander the streets without the supervision of Big Brother.”
She also spoke of Qaddafi’s supporters who helped him hide and fight the rebels in his final few weeks. Ronen expressed doubt that the new administration in Libya will be able to work together with these supporters and convince them to join the government and make peace.
Ronen also warned that if Libya deteriorates into civil war it could bring down the entire area with it, especially neighboring countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, all of which are going through their own Arab Spring.