Not a good sign – from Barry Rubin over at Pajamas Media:
Finally, we have evidence that Islamists and even al-Qaeda supporters will play a central role in Libya’s new regime. Up to now there has been reasonable speculation that the U.S. government and NATO might be installing an anti-Western, Islamist government in Libya. Now there’s proof that this is so.
The actual government remains in the hands of non-Islamists, technocrats, ex-regime officials, and moderates. But the armed rebels who actually made the revolution have voted and their idol is…an al-Qaeda guy. Political power, said Mao Zedong, grows out of the barrel of a gun and in Libya’s case this seems a very reasonable expectation.
According to Al Jazeera, the network recommended by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as fair and balanced, Abdul al-Hakim al-Hasadi, also known as Abdelhakim Belhaj, has been named commander of the Tripoli Military Council. He was formerly head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an al-Qaeda affiliate. Moderates are understandably nervous…
The guys with the guns do tend to call the shots – and there is just about zero chance that NATO or the United States will start bombing the al-Qaeda affiliated rebels to shore up the non-Islamists. We can still hope that the non-Islamists have enough military force to keep the Islamists in line, but there is one thing you can say about the Islamsits…they do have propaganda convincing to at least that segment of the Moslem population willing to take up arms. The best bet to make in Libya is that those who fought the hardest are likely to be Islamists, or open to Islamist propaganda.
Another problem hamstringing the rise of decency in Libya is that a good portion of the population is still apparently tribal in outlook…this can work to the advantage of those wanting a free nation, but it can also work against them: those who are divided up by tribes will be confronting people united across tribal lines in the name of extremist Islam. In any revolutionary situation, the most determined and disciplined minority will take charge…it was such during our own revolution, and we just hit the jackpot in that the people running our side of the fight were Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams and the like. I haven’t seen any Washington-like person rising in any of the Moslem revolutions of late.
Once again I have to go back to my first views on Libyan intervention – we should have done it much sooner and much harder. Had we acted swiftly to destroy the Gaddafi regime then it would have been gotten rid of before large bodies of dedicated, revolutionary soldiers were built up. Before, that is, a large body of Islamist troops were created. There would have been in reality no rebel army…and thus the chance for decent people to be in charge. In any military action, there must be celerity of movement and maximum force…if you don’t want to move quickly and with enough power to over-kill the opposition, then it is best not to move at all. We may get the worst of both worlds…a half-baked military intervention to be followed by a regime overtly hostile to the United States (Gaddafi’s Libya was hostile, but also wasn’t bothering anyone for the past 10 years or so).
Pray that the good guys win…but be prepared for quite a mess in Libya.
UPDATE: Islamists plot to take over Libya.
UPDATE II: Libyan rebels round up blacks as enemies.