From being a functioning State which was governed with an iron fist by its dictator Gaddafi, to a disparate and desperate bunch of lawless, heavily armed militias running wild through the sands; in only three years, must be some sort of record.
Libya, a country blessed with a surfeit of oil, as well as pure clean water, was always a place where, if you went there to work, you did so on their terms. Gaddafi was the boss, his close-knit family ran just about everything, and the Revolution was always with you.
Then the Spring burst upon an unsuspecting Arab world, and, when the Libyan rebels cut loose in Benghazi, seeking a new order, Gadaffi sent in his armoured columns to cut down the uprising. France sent in the Mirages and Rafales of the French Armee de L’Air, and those same armoured columns suddenly became so much scrap metal. Cameron ordered the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to co-operate in a no-fly zone to aid the rebels, along of course with the vast logistical aid of the Americans; and once the rebels broke out and commenced slaughtering the Gaddafi loyalists, it was just a matter of time before it was all over. The lunacies of the Gaddafi era were shown to the wider world, and all was thought to be gravy.
In a measure of how quickly order has been restored in Tripoli, David Cameron, the prime minister and the French president touched down in the capital less than a month after Muammar Gaddafi was toppled amid heavy fighting. At a hospital the pair were given an enthusiastic welcome – the kind of reception the two could only dream about in their own countries – and a calmer, but no less warm, greeting by Libya‘s interim rulers.
Although anxious to avoid perceptions of a victory lap, given the ongoing fighting and the failure to capture Gaddafi, Cameron and Sarkozy citedthe Libyan experience as a beacon for the region. “This does go beyond Libya,” Cameron told a press conference at the Corinthia hotel. “This is a moment when the Arab spring could become an Arab summer and we see democracy advance in other countries too. “I believe you have the opportunity to give an example to others about what taking back your country can mean.”
The fools of the Foreign Office, together with their compatriots in Paris, loudly proclaimed that ‘democracy’ was just around the corner, and commenced block-ordering sample ballot papers printed in Arabic.
Anyone smell burning paper?