UPDATE: In February we brought you this cheat sheet to detail just part of the picture about why the people in Libya were beginning to rebel. Well, six months have now passed and this week the rebels marched on the capital Tripoli. It was the culmination of a sustained campaign of unrest, helped by NATO bombing of key military targets which began in March to stop the Libyan troops crushing the then weaker rebels in the Eastern rebel-friendly stronghold of Bhengazi. This phase of the resistance at least appears to be over, with Colonel Gaddafi in hiding and Tripoli seized.
So, what’s the latest?
The rebels have took control of Green Square and then the capital and have surrounded several key compounds. They have captured some of Gaddafi’s sons, including Saif Al-Islam and directed them to be treated ‘fairly’ so that they can face trial. It took a while to reach this point because it took months for the rebels to organise themselves into a cohesive fighting force and to find weapons more effective than light arms and AK47s. Now they have found themselves in possession of tanks and other arms while Gaddafi’s military has been heavily crippled.
NATO has said the Libyan regime is ‘crumbling’ although Gaddafi, whose whereabouts are unknown, has urged those still loyal to him to ‘fight till the end’. But that seems unlikely now as Government forces and loyalists turn themselves in and surrender.
President Barack Obama said the tipping point had been reached and the tyrant must go.
The Libyan state-controlled television ignored the battle as it reached the capital, where their offices are based, and instead aired a program about heart disease.
Hundreds have been killed in fighting which still rages in the city and Muammar Gaddafi himself will need to be found if any real sense of justice can be achieved.
Then what needs to happen?
The rebels will need to form a Government that doesn’t make the same mistakes as Gaddafi did. Whether that can be achieved remains to be seen. They will face the same post-regime confusion as has been seen in Egypt and Tunisia.
Find the original cheat sheet below:
They fell like dominoes. Heavy, groaning, seemingly immovable dominoes. But they fell. First Tunisia. Then Egypt. And the forces that acted to topple the first regime fanned throughout the Middle East like an ideological dust storm.
The question is, why now? After decades of despotic, totalitarian and anti-democratic rule in many of the countries throughout the Middle East there is something special about now. The spark might not have gone off in the powder keg yet but the fuse appears to have been lit. In the fabulous words of clichéd journalism everywhere, something intangible – tensions – are simmering.