Now What?

Libya’s rebels have finally taken Tripoli. So far it has gone about as smoothly as it possibly could have. The armed men from the east did not commit a massacre in their enemy’s stronghold. On the contrary, they appear to be welcome there. The regime naturally has some supporters in Tripoli, but I couldn’t find a single one when I visited in 2005, so I doubt they’re the majority.

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This revolution is very different from Egypt’s. Hosni Mubarak was removed by the army following civilian demonstrations, but the Free Officer’s regime founded by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1952 is still firmly in place.

Moammar Qaddafi’s regime, however, is in the process of being utterly destroyed like Saddam Hussein’s was in Iraq. Libya can proceed in just about any direction from here. If you try to predict what comes next, you will only be right if you’re lucky. If you make a living writing about this part of the world, try to resist the temptation.

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