"I am the one who created Libya, and I will be the one to destroy it." - Muammar al-Gaddafi
The personalised regime of Colonel Gaddafi has taken a page out of the Israelis' book and resorted to using cluster bombs against the population. The 1.2 million people who have been maimed, mutilated or murdered under him is a long way from the reforms delivered in the 1970s which provided the Libyan people with free health-care and free education. Nasser said of Gaddafi shortly before his death "I rather like Gaddafi. He reminds me of myself when I was that age." By the end of the decade Gaddafi had emerged as the dominant figure from a power struggle in the regime with a faction seeking to embark on greater socio-economic development. With the rival faction crushed, Gaddafi moved to support terrorist groups abroad until he became a scapegoat for the US government and Libya endured a US bombing campaign. The evidence which ties the Libyan regime to the Lockerbie bombing and the disco bombing in Germany is highly questionable. But it is undoubtedly true that Gaddafi supported the IRA and other groups.
The National Council in Benghazi is not totally representative of the rebellion as a grass-roots movement for democracy. The National Council consists of professional politicians and military officials, mostly defectors from the Gaddafi regime. As many of the rebels have been maimed and killed in battle, the rebellion overall has lost it's "popular character" in that the real decisions are being made in Benghazi. The rebel forces are being armed with weapons from Qatar and there have been moves to export Libyan oil through Qatar. These are the reasons that the recent summit was held in Doha, it had nothing to do with what might be best for Libyans. Though the possibility of recognising the National Council as the official government of Libya was discussed. It should also be noted that Qatar has been in bed with the US for many years. Qatar was on board with the intervention from the beginning and was one of the biggest advocates of a no-fly zone.
The way in which Qatar has acted is not a simple expression of self-interest, it should be understood as a part of the GCC as well as an extension of US-Israeli interests in the region. The major issues are oil and the tacit alliance between Israel and many Arab states. The fall of Gaddafi is welcome because he has outlived his usefulness, the rebels have seized control of the oil fields in the country and have produced a government which is even more insidiously pro-Western than before. It may even be under this leadership that the country could undergo further neoliberal reforms, which would continue the decline of health-care, education and standards of living. All of which began as Gaddafi sought to improve relations with the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union and had succeeded by the early 2000s. But as the rebel forces might be able to take Tripoli there has been talk of a "boots on the ground" intervention and a partitioned country as previously mentioned.
Whether or not the rebels can actually take Tripoli is the most important factor, a fractured nation could be the result of this conflict and a Gulf emirate model could emerge in the oil-rich east whilst western Libya descends into poverty. This might be seen as a pragmatic solution by the US, Britain and France. A further inflammation of tensions between rival tribes, as well as religious sects, as class interests relate to the geographic situation of particular tribes. This is a serious possibility as a great deal of the oil fields have been secured. A partition along such lines would be a disaster, as similar partitions have been in Ireland, Cyprus and Palestine. Even if Tripoli is taken Libya might only emerge as a bourgeois democracy, at best, with the regime only fragmented and the Colonel deposed. This might make it a wonderful holiday destination for white people, whether or not it would improve health-care in the country is another matter.