It has been three years after the Libyan revolution, and unlike its neighbor, Tunisia, the country has descended into further instability. The downfall of Muammar Qaddafi has led to rebel militias, radical Islamists and commander Khalifa Haftar vying for power, wealth and control. The vacuum in the country is being filled with violence and militancy. What has happened among the groups who toppled Qaddafi is an all out civil battle to take power.
Now, armed clashed have broken out in Tripoli closing the city’s main airport. The country had seen relative calm since the summer when the Libya Dawn Force, an armed militia allied to the city of Misrata, took over Tripoli and set up a government in opposition to Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni. Al-Thinni’s internationally recognized government is stuck in the city of Tobruk and now his faction and the Libya Dawn Force are vying for control over the country and its oil. Three years on, Libya is still struggling to overcome the heavily armed factions who brought down Qaddafi.
The situation in Libya is a great reflection on how media surrounding the Middle East is confused. The complexity of a country like Libya creates a tendency to discuss its politics as black or white. For instance, here are a few things that Qaddafi put in place which really worked for Libya. No one is claiming that he was the optimal leader, but it is information like this which makes it easier to understand how revolution can turn into devastating instability once the goal is achieved.
1. Under Qaddafi’s Green Book, a home is considered a natural human right.
2. Education and medical treatment were free under Qaddafi. (if unable to access desired education/medical treatment funding for travel was provided)
3. Qaddafi created the world’s largest irrigation project to make water readily available to all Libyans.
4. When a woman gave birth she was given 5000 US dollars for herself and her newborn.
5. Electricity was free (no electric bills).
7. Qaddafi raised the level of education
8. Qaddafi tried to make a single African currency linked to gold. The move would have thrown the world economy into chaos because African nations would have finally had the power to rise out of poverty and debt by tradition in the precious commodity. They could have charged whatever they found suitable. It is rumored that this was the real underlying reason for the NATO led rebellion.
Watch the VICE News documentary on Libya. It will help you understand what is happening these days.