The Libyan crisis cannot be called a popular revolution or even a mass protest; for several reasons: First: Libya is an oil-rich country, similar to the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which stopped popular revolutions at its gates during the Arab Spring. Second: Civil society has not had any success in the process of partisanship in the past years because Colonel Gaddafi's regime while threatening the said process, shut down any partisanship activities. Third: The Gaddafi regime was trying to create a relative social and economic situation for the Libyan people by providing support services and subsistence subsidies; on the other hand, it prevented them from political participation and fulfilling their constitutional rights. Therefore, everything that happened in the revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt in the Arab Spring completely differs from the revolutions and crises in Libya.
With all its approaches, the Libyan crisis should be considered different from the popular revolutions in North Africa, arising from the conflicts of tribes, Islamic organizations, and internal political factions under the guidance of foreign forces. Just on March 19, 2011, one month away from the domestic crisis in Libya, the coalition of Washington, Paris, and London attacked and bombed the bases belonging to Colonel Gaddafi. With a short interval and with the green light of the United States of America, the said coalition entered operations in Libya under the guise of NATO command. However, on October 20, 2011, Colonel Gaddafi was killed in his hometown, Sirte, east of the Libyan capital. This action of NATO, while freeing Gaddafi from accountability before the people's court and the conscience of the Libyan people, only provides the possibility of his body being obtained by the revolutionaries as a victory.
All this happened while before the United States of America had entered a new stage of cooperation with Gaddafi, to the extent that the United States dropped all the charges against Libya and removed Libya from the list of evil countries and supporters of terrorism, and after intensive negotiations between the United States and Britain with Libya will provide the basis for this country's return to the international community. Subsequently, in 2009, with the closure of the Libyan nuclear case, all sanctions and economic sanctions against this country were removed. The departure of the neoconservatives from the White House pushed the American approach to the new Middle East based on supporting the Arab revolutions and change from within. With this strategy, the United States turned its back on its allies in North Africa, and to protect the interests of the United States, it tried to align itself with the currents of Islamic governance in these countries. Libya was not exempt from this rule due to its rich wealth because, based on the statistical data of the OPEC magazine in 2017, Libya was the fifth Arab country with rich reserves of crude oil, which was estimated at 48.5 billion barrels, which was equal to 3.76% of the world's reserves, and in the Arab world's gas reserves also occupied the eighth place among the Arab countries with a ratio of 1.5 trillion cubic meters that by taking into account oil rock reserves, Libya's resilience in terms of having fossil energy reserves will be upgraded to the next 112 years, that is, it reaches 613 billion barrels. Therefore, the importance of Libya to the West was far more important than the rule of Colonel Gaddafi as an unbalanced and unmeasured figure Kim Jong Il in North Korea. These things caused the West to bypass Gaddafi, and the revolution in Libya started.
The future outlook of the Libyan crisis:
Although more than ten years have passed since the beginning of the changes in Libya that led to the overthrow of the dictator of this country, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is still facing a political and economic crisis. Now the question is why this crisis does not end.
According to the French annual report on Libya, which was published in 2021 and titled middle civil wars and humanitarian crises and reconciliation efforts, despite the failure of the plan to create a unified government and the failure to conduct elections due to the lack of agreement on the constitution, Libya faces two choices against colonialist approaches.
First, political, geographical, and economic division (separation), and second, entering into the civil war; the first aspect is the economic division of the country, which is derived from the central bank, by dividing the country into two regions, western and eastern. Still, the geographical division approach is derived from the plan to divide the western parts of the country with the support of Abdul Hamid al-Dbeibeh. In the meantime, the situation in Tripoli is special due to the support of thousands of its residents from al-Dbeibeh. In contrast to the approval and support of Fathi Bashagha's government in the eastern regions of the country, with the beginning of threats to enter the civil war, 65 armed battalions and groups located in Misrata rejected the election of Bashagha as the prime minister of the legitimate government of Libya. On the other hand, 118 armed battalions issued a statement and supported the Bashagha government elections. Based on this, the report emphasizes that the division cannot be a suitable solution for the Libyan crisis because the government of al-Dbeibeh lacks the necessary legitimacy and acts outside the legal framework. However, it enjoys international support if the Bashagha government, which has the Libyan parliament's full support with the people's support, is prohibited from entering the capital. Therefore, the horizon for the political solution in front of the Libyan people does not find external objectivity.
Now, despite such a situation due to the greed of Western actors, there is no doubt that domestic disputes intensify. The pressure of foreign forces also causes the doubling of the domestic crisis in this country. Libya moves away from the state of compromise between the domestic actors, which intensifies the crisis in the neighbors of the Arab Maghreb and the region. An issue that will only threaten the country with the separation between its eastern and western governments and its security, political and economic consequences and will face the future of Libya with a governance crisis, a war for natural resources, and a threat to national unity.
Meanwhile, the approach of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Libyan crisis is the result of the strong will of the people of this country in fighting against colonialism fighting based on national unity and maintaining independence and moderation in religion, and avoiding Islamic extremism. Therefore, there is no doubt that the national determination and will of the Libyan people, as we have witnessed in alignment with the resistance of the oppressed Palestinian people, will be against the origin of Western predatory through the spread of violence and the separation of Libya into governments affiliated to the east and the West.
Mojtaba Ferdosipour, Head of West Asia and North Africa Studies Department
(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)