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Islamic Hardliners Are Gaining Power In Libya

From a suddenly awakened New York Times:

Islamists’ Growing Sway Raises Questions for Libya

By ROD NORDLAND and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
September 14, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya — In the emerging post-Qaddafi Libya, the most influential politician may well be Ali Sallabi, who has no formal title but commands broad respect as an Islamic scholar and populist orator who was instrumental in leading the mass uprising.

The most powerful military leader is now Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the former leader of a hard-line group once believed to be aligned with Al Qaeda.

Funny how we only are hearing these concerns now that the Libyan rebels have won.

The growing influence of Islamists in Libya raises hard questions about the ultimate character of the government and society that will rise in place of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s autocracy

Again, questions The Times only raises after the rebels are safely entrenched.

[A]s in Egypt and Tunisia, the latest upheaval of the Arab Spring deposed a dictator who had suppressed hard-core Islamists, and there are some worrisome signs about what kind of government will follow.

In other words, everywhere there has been a successful ‘Arab Spring’ revolution, the new government is more hardline Islamic and less democratic. What a shock, huh?

It is far from clear where Libya will end up on a spectrum of possibilities that range from the Turkish model of democratic pluralism to the muddle of Egypt to, in the worst case, the theocracy of Shiite Iran or Sunni models like the Taliban or even Al Qaeda.

But we went to war to make sure these rebels would win.

By the way, someone should alert The Times to the fact that Turkey is not longer the "model of democratic pluralism."

Islamist militias in Libya receive weapons and financing directly from foreign benefactors like Qatar; a Muslim Brotherhood figure, Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar, leads the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council, where Islamists are reportedly in the majority…

Huh. We seem to remember that Mr. Obama himself touted Qatar’s role in ‘Arab Spring.’

Some are concerned that the Islamists are already wielding too much power, particularly in relation to their support in Libyan society, where most people, while devout, practice a moderate form of Islam in which individual liberties are respected…

During the 42 years of Colonel Qaddafi’s rule, underground organizations like Mr. Belhaj’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and the Muslim Brotherhood were the only opposition. Although outlawed and persecuted, they had a network through mosques that secular opponents of the government could not match.

That has also given them a head start in political organizing now, and they appear to be wasting no time.

Fathi Ben Issa, a former Etilaf member who became an early representative on the Tripoli council, said he quit his position after learning that the Muslim Brotherhood members who dominate that body wanted to ban theater, cinema and arts like sculpture of the human form. “They were like the Taliban,” he said. “We didn’t get rid of Qaddafi to replace him with such people.” The final straw, he said, came when Etilaf began circulating a proposed fatwa, or decree, to bar women from driving

Again, we went to war to put these people in power?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 15th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Islamic Hardliners Are Gaining Power In Libya”

  1. Mithrandir says:

    This government, I tell ya…..

    When it comes to Arabs it’s either:

    1. Reactionary.

    2. Naïve.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Well, dang. Who would’a seen this comin’? Yo.

    If only Barry had insisted that Kaddafy had WMD’s or something. Or, lots of yellowcake….or….or…..if Biden had pushed for it and ….wait, you say they didn’t spend any time convincing congress to go to war in Libya? Why, how is that possible?

    One would think if the US was to invest time/money/personnel in some godforsaken sand hellhole, that well, the guy who wanted to go there would’ve at least spent some time discussing it with congress, as required by law….no?

    Or, do we live in a new-age autocracy where we needn’t trouble ourselves with such niggling details. (Yes, I said “niggling”) After all, we’re not capable, us drooling masses, to determine what constitutes “war” vs. “kinetic military action” which I still can’t find a definition for in any military handbook. I must confess, they’ve gotta be real smart, them polly-tishins to use words I’ve never heard of. Come to think of it, sales people do the same thing.

  3. JohnMG says:

    …..“Islamic Hardliners Are Gaining Power In Libya”…..

    Imagine that!

  4. untrainable says:

    They forgot to say “unexpectedly”… or did they?


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