A moment for truth and reconciliation….
I make no apologies for being glad that the Gaddafi regime looks to be very much on its last legs in Tripoli. Whatever you think of the intervention, whatever you think of the Transitional National Council, there is little doubt in my mind that Gaddafi was a lamentable and despicable despot whose rule should have been ended. So, there should be no tears for Gaddafi and there should be recognition that the ending of his regime represented the will of a sizable number of the Libyan people themselves. How many is open to debate but the simple fact is that no person should be shackled by the chains of dictatorship and for a democrat, a consistent one at least, there can be no justification for the continued rule of one person and their family over an entire country.
Now the military conflict is drawing to a close, the immediate demand must be for free and fair, internationally monitored (by the United Nations, not NATO) elections to a sovereign body which has the sole task of drafting a constitution for the new Libya. The Transitional National Council now has no reason to deny these demands and any attempt by it to do so should be met as proof of their lack of democratic intent. It itself, is a product of the ancien regime and component parts of it should now face scrutiny in a Libya which needs healing and needs not retribution but truth, and reconciliation. This is not least the case because its own conduct of the war has been far from spotless. Justice must be seen to serve all sides to a political conflict evenhandedly to function at all.
NATO must fully withdraw, having exceeded its mandate under the United Resolution that it acted upon in the first place, and the United Nations must ponder once again the inadequacy of itself in the face of these events. NATO is a conglomerate of vested interests and is not really fit as a body to act as ‘the armed wing of the UN’. If NATO countries were serious about multilateralism, serious about a consistent application of international law then they would reform the UN and disband NATO allowing for the creation of bodies directly under the control of a democratised United Nations; totally independent of the UN’s own component nations and therefore capable of acting in an even-handed and detached manner.
Democracy in Libya faces many challenges, not least those of a material base which does not lend itself to even the liberal, limited form of capitalist democracy flowering. This fledgling growth will need support from a non-aligned standpoint that is supportive of the aspirations and settled will of the Libyan people independent of all interested parties. Meanwhile, what is required of us is that we look towards changing the power structures in our own back yard while the Libyan’s must now shape theirs; we need a UN that is fit for purpose, that is more than a sum of its parts and we need a system of international action, law and jurisprudence which reinforces those structure’s, not undermines them.