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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gaddafi's Death Knell

After 42 years of absolute power in Libya, the absolutely corrupt dictator Muammar Qaddafi  is finally on the ropes.

Qaddafi assumed power in a military coup, and while he retained the military rank of Colonel, he immediately assumed the role of generalissimo. He behaved like a Sultan and during his first 17 years of rule, believing himself immune from any consequence from his actions, which included the sponsoring of terrorism in the Middle East and Europe.

In response to the Libyan sponsored terror bombing of a disco in Berlin aimed at off-duty US military personnel, Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of Gaddafi's Tripoli palace. The attack killing Gaddafi's adoptive daughter and seemed to teach Libya's strongman that he should behave himself. But fuming for vengeance, years later, Qaddafi ordered another terror attack against Americans, which took place in the form of a destroyed civilian airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Western leaders had wished nothing but ill-will towards Qaddafi, but the vast oil reserves under Libya's desert and the developed world's insatiable appetite for gasoline bought acceptance for a psychopath who would otherwise have been a complete pariah.

The Libyans themselves to push Quadafi to the last stages of his reign. The Libyan masses themselves were influenced by the wave of democratic revolutions sweeping the Arab world, which in turn were spurred by George W Bush's imposed democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unlike the other Arab autocrats who have been swept away with popular uprisings in the last few weeks, Qaddafi has an advantage. He is a completely ruthless, vicious psychopath, with no compunction against murder.

While these would be the most revolting traits for a normal human being, the lack of moral inhibition is advantageous for a dictator whose sole objective is keeping and exercising absolute authority. Saddam Hussein was able to rule Iraq by that means until he was pushed out by US troops. Without external forces to unseat him, Joseph Stalin ruled the USSR in such a way until his death.

As revolutionary troops close in on his capital of Tripoli, the western powers that did not want to commit themselves until now are pushing for sanctions against Qaddafi. His well-armed mercenary forces and loyalists may be able to stem the popular tide against him for the moment, but this last strategic commitment is certainly the death knell for Qaddafi.

Even if he is able to resist the current onslaught by a populace yearning for freedom, his and his son's ability to defend themselves from a future uprising will be vastly diminished. Qaddafi may have a few days left, he may even be able to stretch it to weeks, even months, but very soon, the world will see the end of one of its most despicable miscreants.

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