If you don't get forwarded, click here

What will come of Libya?

It looks like the Libyan rebels are in the process of mopping up the last few areas controlled by Gaddafi. Despite how our representatives in parliament were, once again, misled by a PM intent on war, this will probably be seen as a successful military operation.

It is clear that British military commanders and politicians have learned from their mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for that they deserve a pat on the back. I've been impressed with William Hague in particular. He is likeable, intelligent, honest and cautious when it comes to diplomacy. I am not a conservative, but can appreciate the skill that William Hague demonstrates outside of world of, to coin a phrase, "Politics Politics". "Politics" being MP's fighting for causes on behalf of their constituents, and "Politics Politics" being the scrappy infighting and point scoring that goes on between the parties.

Anyway. It may appear that our intervention in Libya has been a success, but to really measure success we need to look back at these events in 5-10 years time. We are already hearing anecdotal evidence of torture and poor treatment of ex Gaddafi soldiers. This could simply be a result of lack of supervision caused by rebel troops being spread so thinley, or a sign that not much is going to change. Once the whole country is in the hands of the National Transitional Council, we can expect to see the infrastructure of society being rebuilt. To name a few; Transportation, energy, water, communications, solid waste management, police force, professionalised army, a constitutional document, and the passing of laws underpinning the introduction of democracy.

"Also comes with a ludicrous fashion sense."
It is my hope that the NTC will immediately focus on develop the above infrastructure. If they are too slow, or overwhelmed with the scale of the task, it could leave a period of lawlessness that could push them into a second civil war. They risk losing control, of the army in particular, which could set the foundations for a military coup in the future. More worrying is that their lack of control would leave citizens in a worse situation they were during Gaddafi's reign.

Its going to be a huge task, but their top priority is to create a constitution. A constitution  is essential because it will, for the first time, lay down a set of rules that govern the relationship between Libya's citizens and the state. Once that is completed it sets the scene where no man is above the law.

I hope we don't look back on these events in 10 years time and find that we armed the rebels and they went on to be another rogue state that we can't control. This is why the international community needs to demonstrate its support for the NTC as this allow for closer diplomatic relations.

So only time will tell, but if we play our cards right we will be able to gently steer the country in the right democratic direction. Not only have we secured the safety of Libyan citizens, but we have secured the oil field...which is what this whole situation was about in the first place.