Ten years ago, on February 15, 2011, anti-government protests accompanied by unrest broke out in Libya. Supported by the NATO countries, they led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
Libyan society is divided into assessing these events: some see it as an international conspiracy whose objective was to redistribute spheres of influence in the region, others a successful revolution, while still others prefer to assess these events according to their current consequences.
Conspiracy against Libya and the Libyans
Naser Said, the Libyan National Popular Movement spokesperson, notes that the Libyans were deceived and dispossessed of their state ten years ago.
“Ten years ago, the enemies of Libya, both internal and external, deceived the Libyans by taking them to the streets, by organizing a ‘revolution’, by involving the media in it to do so.”
“As a result, we were dispossessed of our own country: we had a blatant military intervention by NATO for eight months.”
“It was the Alliance’s largest and longest military operation outside its borders after World War II. And now we have neither state nor infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of Libyan families have been forced from their homes, and their towns and villages have been destroyed. Thousands of Libyans have been coldly killed,” he said.
According to him, over the past ten years, Libya has become a den of terrorists and a place for the activities of foreign intelligence services. And we don’t know when it will end.
Regarding how Libya has retreated in its historical development, the politician adds: “These events which brought the situation back inside the country to what it was in the 1950s: we no longer have electricity, medicine or money.”
For Naser Said, the month of February 2011 constitutes the “dark time” in the Libyan people’s history, who must now wrest their independence from foreign states and terrorists.
A successful revolution
In turn, Adel Karmous, member of the High Council of State of Libya, underlines that the Gaddafi regime’s overthrow in February 2011 was the starting point for the new Libya’s history.
“The revolution certainly achieved its goals: the regime, which only harmed Libyans through its tyrannical character and oppression for more than 40 years, was finally overthrown.”
“Ten years ago, there was, therefore, a real revolution of the Libyan people against authoritarianism. It shouldn’t even be questioned. All the more so since a third party did not organize it: the demonstrations were spontaneous,” he explains.
According to the parliamentarian, the country’s problems after the overthrow of Gaddafi were the result of the absence of a leader to manage them.
Referring to the current situation, he adds: “The results of the dialogue, like the current situation, satisfy the majority of Libyan society. It should be understood that a political settlement only cut the way to the militarization of the political system with the election of a provisional government. The new Libya is only in its infancy.”
‘The worst period in history’
However, few would deny that the past decade has been a turning point in Libyan history. Libyan writer Hussein Miftah calls the last ten years the worst years for Libyans since the country gained independence.
“The point is that Libya has only been independent for 60 years. For 40 years, she lived under the reign of Muammar Gaddafi. The past decade had turned out to be much worse than the period when Libyan independence was just established. Because the current chaos is truly unprecedented,” he says.
When asked why this happened, the expert answers: “There was no revolution. The chaos in which we live today is only a consequence of the sharing of the region by external actors. We can see this clearly if we look at what forces are present in our territory and what their objectives are”.
According to him, the only force in Libya that benefits the current situation is the Islamists.
“Branches of the Muslim Brotherhood* control part of Libyan territory. Of course, before, they couldn’t even dream of it. From now on, their activities are covered by Turkey, which sends them money or arms.”
“They also cooperate with other extremist movements of political Islam in North Africa. They, therefore, experienced a real development here,” concludes Hussein Miftah.
So far, the Libyans have only been able to take the first step towards ending the chaos in their country by electing a provisional government that will prepare the country for elections in December.