Robert Fisk: Arab Spring will last for years now it's in full flow
The remaining Arab potentates and tyrants have spent a second sleepless night. How soon will the liberators of Tripoli metamorphose into the liberators of Damascus and Aleppo and Homs? Or of Amman? Or Jerusalem? Or of Bahrain or Riyadh? It's not the same, of course.
The Arab Spring-Summer-Autumn has proved not just that the old colonial frontiers remain inviolate -- an awful tribute to imperialism, I suppose -- but that every revolution has its own characteristics. If all Arab uprisings have their clutch of martyrs, some rebellions are more violent than others. As Saif al-Gaddafi said at the start of his own eventual downfall, "Libya is not Tunisia, it's not Egypt . . . It will become civil war. There will be bloodshed on the streets." And there was.
And so we gaze into the crystal ball. Libya will be a Middle East superpower -- unless we impose an economic occupation as the price of Nato's "liberating" bombardment -- and a less African, more Arab country now that Gaddafi's obsession with central and southern Africa has disappeared. It may infect Algeria and Morocco with its freedoms. The Gulf states will be happy -- up to a point -- since most regarded Gaddafi as mentally unstable as well as mischievous. But unseating tyrannical Arab rulers is a dangerous game when unelected Arab rulers join in. Who now remembers the forgotten 1977 war in which Anwar Sadat sent his bombers to pulverise Gaddafi's airbases -- the very same airbases Nato has been attacking these past months -- after Israel warned the Egyptian president that Gaddafi was planning his assassination? But Gaddafi's dictatorship outlived Sadat by 30 years.