Over the weekend Libyan rebels moved in on the capital city of Tripoli where they arrested several of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s children, including his son, who had been instrumental in the dictator’s regime. Qaddafi himself has not been located and rumors have been flying about his possible whereabouts. The “conflict” President Obama entered the nation into without Congressional approval looks to be shifting gears. The President took a position of cautious optimism.
In Qaddafi’s absence, rebel forces have declared a tentative victory, but the question remains – should we? We still have no clear idea of just what elements this rebel force is comprised. From the beginning the State Department has been, at best, vague about their knowledge regarding the identity of the rebels. There seems to be no consensus. Some fear Al Qaeda may have at least infiltrated the ranks; others seem sure that the extremist Muslim Brotherhood is pulling the strings. If either of those groups turn out to be the ruling faction then the United States will have aided in placing what is currently their most pressing military enemy in charge of a small country, replete with its own stockpile of aging chemical weapons and artillery. In fact, the L.A.Times reports that American officials have urged the rebels to secure all weapons storages and facilities as soon as possible as to prevent such destructive technology from reaching the hands of terrorists. No word yet on what the U.S. will do if the rebel forces turn out to be the terrorists.
The situation becomes even more precarious considering the Obama administration has yet to reveal a goal for America’s involvement in the conflict. There have been no hard deadlines set, no general strategy has been unveiled for the public, and no “endgame” has been discussed. Without a confident U.S. position, Americans are left to surmise and speculate about the outcome of a war that they are paying for but had absolutely no say about engaging in.
None of this bodes well for Obama, who is struggling in the polls. Without confirmation that Qaddafi has indeed been unseated for good, without any idea about the identity of the rebels in Tripoli, without any clear goals for the conflict Obama cannot count on a “Bin Laden” type bump. There is no clear victory to trumpet here. Add to that the fact that one murdering regime may have simply replaced another and the situation becomes less than encouraging.
Qaddafi is certainly no man to weep for, however it may be that his successors are even more dangerous. Despite the news from Tripoli over the weekend, this conflict is far from over, and Americans will need to keep a watchful eye on Libyan developments in the coming months.