|Where are the crowds throwing flowers? Image source|
Gadhafi falls. Yet the news headlines are hardly triumphal. The reason, I suspect, is that few believe we have seen the end of NATO's war on Libya. Almost certainly, what we are seeing now is only the end of the beginning.
Their way smoothed by NATO bombing, the rebels, who may have been aided by any number of Iraq- or Afghanistan-war-hardened mercenaries funded by NATO, have been able to enter Tripoli and will most likely soon occupy the seats of government.
We saw something very much like this in Afghanistan when the US bombed a way open for the Northern Alliance to enter Kabul in the first months of the war. Yet that war is still ongoing ten years later.
Likewise in Iraq. The Iraq Army, softened up by heavy aerial bombardment, was unable to mount a significant defense of Baghdad. But the occupation of the capital was only the beginning of the war, which continues sporadically even now.
|At latest report, Gadhafi sons "released" by rebels. Source|
Gadhafi is said to have distributed millions of automatic weapons to the Libyan populace. The prospect of deadly violence for years to come seems high.
But this war may differ from the others in that NATO troops will play little if any role on the ground. Why? Because NATO now has an army of trained mercenaries at its disposal who, under the guise of Libyan rebels, can do any necessary ground fighting as effectively and more cheaply than American, Canadian or other NATO forces and without that unpleasantness with flag-draped coffins returning home to America, Britain, France, etc. on a regular basis.
There is already talk of the foreign oil companies returning to Libya. But a return to full production could take years if Libyan nationalists and Gadhafi loyalists engage in a guerrilla struggle to expel the colonists.
Offshore exploration, authorized by the "Rebel" government may now proceed, although the possibility that the loyalists are able to launch the odd Skud missile could be a deterrent. A Macondo-sized spill in the Med, would end any prospect of offshore drilling for years to come.
The Tripolitanians aren't cheering that much;
the African Union won't recognize the rebel Transitional Council;
But unlike Libya all is peaceful in Morocco (Human Development Index rank 125)
And those ingrates in South Africa have started talking about NATO war crimes in Libya.