Home > Interviews, LIBYA > What future awaits new Libya? – Interview

What future awaits new Libya? – Interview

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Laaska News  Sept. 14,2011         AUDIO 

Photo: EPA  

Today we will be discussing the future of the new Libya, and our guest is Sergei Strokan, political commentator with Russia’s Kommersant Publishing House.

How do you think, if the rebels have enough strength of will and possibility to unite the country on a new democratic basis?

Still there is a lot of controversy and confusion over there. Rebels and their role, as initially, they were moderates, they were Islamists, they were those who were advocating a secure way of  a new Libya and they were those who were speaking of turning the country into another Iran probably or into another Turkey. So I think a lot will depend on which forces will prevail in the new interim government in Libya. This is the first thing, and the second thing is whether the new authorities will be able to spell out, to announce the new development strategy which would allow Libyans to start national reconciliation process. I think that reconciliation is the key word that Libya needs today, as you can’t build a new Libya on the basis of Benghazi supporters ignoring people in Tripoli or just focus on Tripoli while ignoring Benghazi. So as it takes two to dance tango, it is the same thing that Libyans have to reinvent a new formula for compromise and consensus for the national development and for reconciliation, and a very important thing is just to allow former Gaddafi forces to be integrated into the political process. If this is not done, then obviously we will see a lot of tension, we will probably see more terrorist acts, even civil war, we can’t throw it out, because there will be a lot of people who will find themselves isolated from the political process, and obviously that would add to their agony, to their despair, to their anger, and this anger can be manifested in a very violent, extreme form.

As we know, China, Cuba, Algeria, Syria and some African and Latin American countries are in no hurry to recognize the new Libyan leaders as a legitimate government. Why is that?

Well, I think you should ask their governments why they are reluctant to do this. But I think that each country just makes a decision on its own national interest – this is the first point. The second point is that each country had its own level of corporation with Gaddafi regime, level of understanding with the former regime, and each country has its own expectations of the new Libyan authorities. Let us not forget that Gaddafi was quite a powerful leader, influential leader. Of course, there were a lot of regional leaders who disliked him, who considered him to be a dictator, who considered his ruling to be outdated. But at the same time he was the president of the African Union, let us not forget about that. This is very telling that he was more than just the leader of Libyan Jamahiriya. He wanted to be a sort of a regional leader. That’s why there are still some countries which probably respect him, that understand that on the one hand it is impossible to keep him in power, that his time has gone forever. But how they understand it – they probably respect him, and by not recognizing this traditional national council of Libya maybe they show reservation of the ability of the new Libyan authorities to actually perform their duties.

So do you believe that before the end of September the pockets of resistance by Gaddafi supporters will be suppressed all over the country?

I think it will depend on many factors. The military is important, but it is not the major factor, because a lot will depend on negotiations among tribal leaders, a lot will depend on that soft power of that tribal diplomacy, let me put it this way. And finally, if they are able just to convince the remaining pockets of resistance, that their days are numbered, that there isn’t any help which they can expect coming from abroad, so we can expect that this stand-off will fail in the upcoming weeks. But at the same time obviously there will be some fanatics, there will be some people who are very much addicted to Gaddafi who will fight tooth and nail, who will fight till the last bullet.

Thank you so much for your commentary! Thank you for joining us today.

Laaska News.