No need to ask, Re: Moammar Gaddafi is dead, Washington Post, October 20, 2011

All over the world pundits and experts, self-styled and otherwise, are speculating about what will happen in Libya now that Moammar Gaddafi has been deposed and killed.

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There’s no need to wonder. What will happen is obvious.

Civil war, ending with the establishment of an Islamic religious dictatorship along the lines of the one in Iran.

Libya’s tribal, religious, ethnic and political divisions are very pronounced and always have been. Gaddafi’s brutal dictatorship was the only thing holding the country together. Now that he is gone Libya will descend into chaos until a new dictator emerges. There will be fighting and bloodshed among a a wide variety of groups and in the end a new dictator will come to the fore and Islam and Islamic law will reign supreme. That is the historical pattern in the Middle East and that is what will happen in Libya. One dictator is always replaced with another.

Bet on it because the chances of anything else happening are zero.

President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron, President Sarkozy of France, Canadian Prime Minister Harper, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and other Western leaders are tripping over themselves to take credit for Gaddafi’s defeat and spouting platitudes about freedom and democracy and historic opportunities for the brave Libyan people who threw off his shackles. That shows one of two things…they are either utterly cynical or utterly ignorant about the Middle East in general and Libya in particular, nothing more.

I wonder what they’ll say when the civil war starts and the real fighting begins.

They’ll probably distance themselves from the developing situation and express regret and disappointment at the unfolding events. After all, from the very beginning their actions had everything to do with political expediency and an unwillingness to take military action against Iran and Syria, which would have made far more sense in any number of ways. They didn’t have the stomach for it however because Iran and Syria could fight back and a weak Libya couldn’t, which is why they attacked in the first place. It was for short-term political gain and they did it because they could get away with it and because ┬áthere was no possibility of failure.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was quoted as saying “The road ahead for Libya and its people will be difficult and full of challenges. Now is the time for all Libyans to come together.”

Not a chance.

In a related development the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times are reporting that Libyan leaders are wrangling over Gaddafi’s funeral and that there is friction and confusion about when and where to bury him.

And so it begins.

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