The devil you know: Muammar Qaddafi and Libya

The devil you know: Muammar Qaddafi and Libya

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The power vacuum left after Qaddafi allowed Islamists to thrive

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2015 – It’s been a bad month for Christians in Libya. Last weekend, Libyan jihadists associated with the Islamic State executed 30 Ethiopian migrant workers for the crime of being Christians.

And Italian authorities are investigating the deaths of at least 12 Christians “drowned in the Mediterranean after they were thrown overboard by Muslim migrants in a furious row, fueled by ‘religious hatred’ on a smuggler boat sailing from Libya to Italy,” said London’s Daily Telegraph.

Italian Sen. Mauizio Gsparri, a member of the center-right Forza Italia party, called the killings and his government’s humanitarian efforts to bring more Libyan refugees into Italy “extremely worrying,” adding that his nation’s left-leaning government is “bringing in Islamist fundamentalists and using Italian ships as taxis for potential jihadists.”

15,000 Libyan migrants fleeing the chaos in their country have sailed to Italy so far this year, joining the 170,000 who landed in 2014.

“For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant—Muammar Qaddafi,” said President Obama, explaining in a 2011 television address his joining NATO to topple the Libyan regime. “He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world –- including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.”

Late last year, fighting between Libya’s NATO-established government and Islamist fighters led to the withdrawal of international diplomats from Benghazi. The jihadist fighters in this case were Ansar al-Sharia, the terrorists that attacked the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi in 2012, killing four, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The president cited “Arab Spring” uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt for inspiring “the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny.”

But the history of bloody revolutions is not a happy one. Chaos more often than not shadows revolution, with civil war following close behind. In the end, the people turn to ruthless strongmen to restore order.

Libya has transitioned from revolution to civil war. Its battered people await an Islamic strongman to re-establish the order of its murdered, secular ruler who kept Islamist militants in check, ended his nuclear enrichment program and was negotiating oil-export deals with the West.

“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” goes the old saying. And the brutal Muammar Qaddafi, it turns out, was more adept at handling jihadists while maintaining civil order than NATO, America’s feeble community organizer or their weak Libyan allies.

Boat people are a byproduct of failed states—and the failing states that install them.

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