Sunday, August 28, 2011

Libya and the Iraq Model

Recent days have seen a spate of essays comparing Iraq (how not to do the overthrow of a dictator) and Libya - where, in the opinion of many, things promise to go much more smoothly because the Libyans don't suffer from Iraq's sectarian divisions, and because the overthrow of Qaddafi came at the hands of the Libyan people, as opposed to a foreign army.

But the AP's Rebecca Santana has a piece that ends with a sobering note:

What may be the most lasting lesson of the Iraq conflict is how difficult it is to maintain unity once the celebrations over a dictator's ouster are gone. Right now, Libyan rebels are united in their desire to oust Gadhafi and his regime. But so were Iraqi leaders and now the government is beset by infighting.

"They were together because their enemy was one: Saddam and the Baathists," said Abbas. "Over there in Libya, they have one enemy: Gadhafi and his family, his tribe. When they leave, the differences between them will appear."

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