Libya after Gaddafi
Speculation looms worldwide as Libya’s dictator Gaddafi’s grip loosens on power, as to who might be his successor.
According to some, his eldest son Seif al-Islam had long been viewed as his heir apparent being a strong supporter of stronger human rights and an occasional critic of his father’s ironclad rule. He was seen by some as holding the potential to positively shape Libya’s future. Following the uprising however protesters are demanding the ouster of the entire Gaddafi family.
Analysts note that Gaddafi’s grip on Libya is beginning to crack and he is widely being condemned following Seif al-Islam’s Sunday night speech which offered that Libya face civil war and that there would be what he described as rivers of blood if demonstrators failed to disperse.
Observers highlight that there is no obvious successor with Seif al-Islam effectively out of the picture, fearing there may be a power vacuum.
Mona Eltahawy, a Middle East observer, states that Gadaffi is the same as the other Arab dictators where he ensured there was no viable person to take over other than his son, adding that it was almost impossible to imagine who would come after him.
As Egypt and Tunisia’s military played pivotal roles after their long-time rulers ceded power, Libya is notably different. The military is weak since it is not the central guardian of the state that it was in both Egypt and Tunisia as Gaddafi kept the military down, fearing he would be deposed by a military coup which ironically was how he came to power, according to Robert Danin, a senior fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He stressed that pulling together Libya’s future will prove to be a challenge.
With anti-government forces gaining momentum, analysts contemplate the names of others who might replace Gaddafi who has been in power for over 4 decades.
Colonel Abu Bakr Younis Jaber has been chief-of-staff of the Libyan military for 40 years and is viewed as a possible contender. The army bolsters his chances of mounting a possible military coup. However, scores of soldiers have reportedly defected to the opposition, threatening his support. Various reports suggest though he is currently under house arrest.
It has been rumoured that Libya’s Minister of Public Security Lieutenant Abdel Fatah Younis El Obeidi, who joined the anti-government protests in Benghazi leading a battalion in combat against foreign mercenaries, may be the most likely to succeed Gaddafi because he is in the best position to use the levers of power.
Al Mahdi Al Arabi, Gaddafi’s former deputy chief of staff, is widely believed to have led an earlier, failed coup attempt and he is believed to be under house arrest.
Abdul Salam Jalloud was one of the original “free officers” who helped Col. Gaddafi rise to power in the 1969 military coup, serving as Libya’s second in command. However, he was demoted in 1993 and ousted from the regime’s elite inner circle two years later. Reports by Al Jazeera stated that Jalloud’s Maqarha tribe officially renounced the Libyan dictator.
A former representative to the Arab League Abdul Moneim al-Hawni, resigned this week, signalling his break with the Gadaffi regime. A Stratford report asserted that he allegedly took part in a failed army coup against Gaddafi in 1975 where he subsequently sought asylum in Egypt. Former Egyptian president Mubarak however arranged for his return to Libya through mediation with Gaddafi and he was later appointed to his post at the Arab League.