Friday, October 21, 2011

Qaddafi's Death Begins a New Chapter in Libyan History

On Thursday, October 20, 2011, Libyan citizens flooded the streets of Tripoli and other cities to celebrate the demise of strongman Muammar Qaddafi, who, along with his son and several other officials, was killed by revolutionary forces in his hometown of Sirte. Several hours after cell phone images and videos of a presumably deceased Qaddafi began to circulate, the new Libyan leadership confirmed the dictator's death. Amid the excitement, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussensenior announced that the international military force would pull out of Libya.

Qaddafi's death promises to be a real turning point in Libya's bloody civil war, which has raged since February between pro- and anti-Qaddafi factions. NATO, and specifically U.S., involvement in the conflict has proven particularly controversial. Debate over the motives, intensity, and duration of American involvement in the North African country has circulated since NATO operations began in mid-March. Although President Barack Obama assured the American public in an address to the nation on March 28 that the U.S. goal was to protect civilians and not to effect regime change, critics at home and abroad believe that the United States went far beyond these stated objectives. In late May, members of Congress from both political parties leveled criticism at Obama and his administration for continued U.S. involvement in NATO operations—without congressional approval and allegedly in violation of the War Powers Act.

It is clear that Qaddafi's death has ushered in a new era for modern Libya. Yet the details of this unfolding future—and, in particular, the international community's role in it—remain to be seen.

—Maxine Taylor, ABC-CLIO

Taylor, Maxine. "Muammar Qaddafi Killed: Overview." World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2011.

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