Muammar Gaddafi’s fall, which, at the moment, seems imminent and inevitable, will certainly signal a new beginning for Libyan politics. But it is still too early to rejoice, for Mr Gaddafi’s exit may just be the starting point for fresh troubles. What had begun as a unified movement to bring down Mr Gaddafi’s autocratic regime has now become irredeemably fractured. The rebellion in Libya is currently led by various interest groups, each with its own selfish agenda to push, and lacking a coherent ideology. The National Transitional Council, which is expected to facilitate the process of regime change, is failing miserably to bring the dissidents under control and, as a result, steadily losing the West’s trust. While most of the nations lobbying for a new dispensation in Libya — including the United States of America and Britain — have accepted the NTC as the only viable alternative, the future does not look promising for this North African state. In the absence of a consensus among the rebel groups, it is expected that an attempt may be made to strike a deal between Mr Gaddafi and his opponents. If such an arrangement ever comes to pass, Libya will, in all likelihood, end up being an eternally beleaguered nation like Afghanistan, run by a motley group of opportunists, a weak president and Nato forces.
The West is thus expected to get more embroiled in the internal politics of the Arab world, especially with errant states like Syria reneging on pledges made to the United Nations with little fear of reprisal. Days after agreeing to improve its human rights record, the Syrian regime, under President Bashar al-Assad, ordered firing on civilians protesting against the government in major cities. Clearly, the audacity of the al-Assad regime remains undiminished, and the West’s patience with Syria is starting to run out. The US president may have plans to quit Afghanistan in the near future, but his country’s tryst with the Arab world is unlikely to end any time soon.