Thursday 23 November 2017

Daunting list of work for new leaders

The West has much to do in advising the transitional authorities as they move forward, writes Ivor Roberts

Ivor Roberts

A day which sees both the declaration by ETA in Spain of the end of the armed struggle and the death of Colonel Gaddafi has to be considered a red-letter day. Let us leave to one side that ETA, taking a leaf out of the IRA's book, has declined to say that they are putting its arms beyond use. If the IRA's example is followed it will take another decade before that is achieved.

Let us instead focus on the lie of the land after the Libyan dictator's demise. The manner of his death was not for the squeamish, and leaves many questions unanswered. Nor is it encouraging for those who called for restraint and no reprisals. But this was war, and in Donald Rumsfeld's lapidary phrase 'stuff happens'.

There is clearly palpable relief at the end of the 42-year nightmare. Of course it wasn't all the Libyan people's work. Nato played a key role, but the prize for bravery goes to the Libyan rebels who defied Gaddafi's well-armed troops and police and sacrificed themselves in significant numbers in what were often desperate street-to-street battles in Benghazi, Misrata, Tripoli and Sirte.

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