August 23rd, 2011
07:07 PM ET

Zakaria: Rebels learned from Iraq

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Libya did not undergo a civil war. It underwent a national uprising against Moammar Gadhafi.

Some of the rebelling tribes were from the east and some from the west. Gadhafi was isolated with a small number of supporters. Those supporters were bought by enormous patronage.

What you are seeing now is a uniting of the Libyan tribes against Gadhafi.  That's why, no matter how long this last phase takes, the result is predetermined: The Gadhafi regime will fall.

Clearly the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC)  is trying to establish some rules of the road such as no reprisals and no looting.

The NTC seems to have looked at Iraq and is trying to do exactly the opposite of what happened in Iraq. They are saying they will retain the police, the civil service and healthcare workers. They will try to return to the normal functioning of society quickly.

The NTC is not trying to amass power. They are not demanding recognition as president and prime minister.

As for Islamic Jihadists in Libya, I think Washington's fears are overblown. Gadhafi was a very tough opponent of al Qaeda. He slaughtered thousands of militant Islamists.

I doubt that there is a great upsurge of Islamic fundamentalism in Libya. In every Muslim society there will be some of it to deal with. But I don't see anything in the Libyan case to suggest there will be some takeover by al Qaeda.

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Topics: From Fareed • Libya

soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. DLW

    The real question is what has the U.S. learned from Libya. It should be that we can support liberation movements, but it must be the citizens of the country who actually do the fighting. If the citizens of a country do not feel strong enough to fight at the forefront of battle, we are wasting our time, placing our military personnel in jeopardy and entering into a prolonged intervention with no assurances of success, i.e. Iraq, Afghanistan, and dare I mention Vietnam. History is a wheel that keeps repeating itself.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  2. erich2112x

    Fareed, your a pretty cool dude, but too often, you like to paint these pictures based on your need to convince us that the people of that region are modern progressive folks living in the 21st century. The world right now is experiencing a major clash between barbarism and civilized society. We're finding out that a society still living in the 7th century cannot exist and prosper in this modern world. The folks out there in Libya are going to need a whole lot of help from the world community if this isn't going to turn into another Iraq.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • iamnotaneoconidiot

      Any country that still prescribes to "tribes" and lives in baked-mud huts is still not capable of being a viable country with real freedom. Quadaffi knew that and took advantage. That's why he was able to remain in power all these years. No one else was capable of running the country. Quadaffi was a tyrant, terrorist,and murderer. But now Libya is now an inch away from being the next Afghanistan.

      August 24, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  3. sjdsh

    What did Al Ciada Rebels learned from Iraq?
    How to kill Americans,my nephew for one.... F the HATO/USA$$ Regime!!!

    August 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Reply
  4. iamnotaneoconidiot

    Now all of Libya is steeped in chaos and lawlessness. And it is all Obama's fault. (Three years alter, it can' t be Bush's fault anymore.) Now Obama and Hillary will be ruling Libya. Nice.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  5. Glockster20

    One thing going for them unlike in Iraq is you do not have the U.S. Provisional Goverment firing everyone and dsibanding this and that. Here they are calling the shots, unlike Iraq where the US made the decsion to disband. I feel that was a major mistake the Americans made and we ended up paying the price for that. Hopefully the NTC will make decsions that are right and that people will follow them. Following those rules will be intersting to see how it plays out.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  6. gar

    Fareed is a brilliant thinker and commentator. The young people of Libya are demonstrating incredible bravery and determination. They want freedom, a democratic system and a normal civil society. The NTC leadership is a well-educated group making consistently appropriate decisions. I think there is excellent potential for a very positive outcome.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  7. Bman

    America cannot do anything, We have spent our wad prematurely thanks to gov. bush. Now the world is changing and we are sitting in Iraq and Afghanistan with our hands tied.
    Realize your mistakes. Own them. Realization is your only hope.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Reply
  8. Dark

    The logic there isn't many jihadists in Libya is fundamentally flawed.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Reply
  9. Fareed Is A Clown

    OMG who is talking about race? I never mentioned it. And the WHOLE middle east policies are a mistake that many Americans DID NOT WANT!!! That's what I'm talking about. If it was W or McCain you know Fox would be doing the same thing CNN is doing. And Obama isn't black, he's has a white mother and a Kenyan father. What truely bothers me is that the whole world looks at us like idiots. I consider my self a dem-o-rat only cause there just educated republicans. But both the SAME PPL!!! I know and always said we should support our leaders because it makes the US look weak to other countries. And even though W was a inbreed we-tood wetbrain drunk we looked weak to the world with all these Americans living in fear and the rest saying conspiracy BS about our leaders. The fact is this country is dying and someone needs to fix it before helping some AQ fighters that were probably just killing Americans in Iraq. Even this communist guy said it. Lessons learned from Iraq and Afganistan and even Vietnam. Just my opinion and observations. But you know there's truth to what I'm saying. Its a vlaid point.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  10. pmac

    about 10 seconds in...did anyone else notice that fat guy taking a leisurely walk across the street in the middle of a gun fight? what's across that street? twinkies?

    August 25, 2011 at 1:04 am | Reply
  11. katharine mcphee

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    February 28, 2012 at 4:50 am | Reply
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