Libya's New Beginnings
Yesterday, the Libyan rebels broke through the lines of Muammar Qaddafi's support and into the capitol -- Tripoli. We don't know what Libya will look like in the coming months and years, but it's clear that the end has come for one of the world's most erratic despots. His sons have been arrested, the rebels control most of the country, and no one really knows where Qaddafi is. This was a popular uprising that had air support and material support from NATO. The United States played a limited but likely important role in this effort. It was, as it should have been, a European led operation.
But now comes the hard part -- putting a country together largely from scratch. Libya has a major asset -- oil wealth. It also has pristine ruins from the Roman era, which would lend itself to tourism. But it is also a tribal society, and Qaddafi used this reality to his benefit -- never allowing any centralized government outside his own control emerge. He used tribal rivalries to his own advantage. The concern now is how these tribal identities will display themselves in the coming months. Will Libya, now free of its tyrant's grip, find a way to come together as a nation and pursue the common good of all? Or, will it fracture along tribal lines? One important difference between Libya and Iraq is that while there are tribal differences, there aren't religious ones. Much of Iraq's problems are linked to rivalry between Sunni and Shiite. Libya's Muslims are, as I understand it, all Sunni.
So, may we today pray for the peace of Libya, for a secure and vibrant future for its people!