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Published 26th August 2011

Vol 52 No 17


Libya

Gadaffi falls, revolution rises

A rebel stands beneath the national flag in Brega.
William Daniels/Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Declaring victory after six months of war, the new regime in Tripoli has rejuvenated the Arab Spring and may promote political change further south

With its victory over the forces of Moammar el Gadaffi this week, the Transitional National Council (TNC) has proved it has more staying power than suggested by its initial hesitant appearance at the head of the insurrection. Now it enters a more perilous period, trying to manage its disparate supporters, launching a complex political transition and dealing with residual military support for the Gadaffi regime.


Al Shabaab – neither gone nor forgotten

The drought has weakened the Islamist militia only temporarily and the political threat to the region is as serious as ever

When Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen retreated from Mogadishu on 6 August, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was quick to claim victory. The United Nations claimed it wa...


The hits against Al Shabaab

Officers of the Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen killed January-July 2011. A tentative list; the full number may reach 50.



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

On the rare occasions Africa’s more powerful leaders challenged him, Libya’s ousted leader Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi affected a look of wounded innocence. The last time was at the African Union summit in Accra in 2007, when South African President Thabo Mbeki cut short the Colonel’s meandering disquisition on the need for the formation of the United States of Africa and a pan-African defence force based in Sirte, his home town. Mbeki, along with other leaders, saw Gadaffi’s proposals as dist...

On the rare occasions Africa’s more powerful leaders challenged him, Libya’s ousted leader Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi affected a look of wounded innocence. The last time was at the African Union summit in Accra in 2007, when South African President Thabo Mbeki cut short the Colonel’s meandering disquisition on the need for the formation of the United States of Africa and a pan-African defence force based in Sirte, his home town. Mbeki, along with other leaders, saw Gadaffi’s proposals as distracting from more practical routes to economic integration.

Seven years earlier, Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo upbraided Gadaffi for supporting 20 rebel movements that maimed and murdered their way across West and Central Africa. Many in Sierra Leone and Liberia think Gadaffi should be on trial at the International Criminal Court alongside his erstwhile ally, Charles Taylor.

Post-Gadaffi summitry in Africa will be briefer and more pragmatic, its delegates chastened by the democracy movement in North Africa. Activists contrast the lengthy pontifications of the AU on Libya with the decision of the Arab League to recognise the Transitional National Council the day after it stormed Tripoli. The AU looks badly out of step with North Africa’s revolutions and increasingly irrelevant when outsiders intervene on the continent. Libya’s revolution gives the AU a chance to examine these failings and craft a better strategy for the stormy politics ahead.

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