Is US behind Libya’s Failure to Rebuild Political System?


As the United States held the second “Summit for Democracy” this week, Libyans have expressed their doubts about the US rhetoric of democracy, according to the Chinese news agency of Xinhua.

Experts and citizens in Libya have said that when they revolted against late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s government in 2011, they were hoping for stability and democratic transition, as promised by the United States. However, the North African country has since slipped into a state of insecurity and chaos.

“Things have not changed for the better. Unfortunately, Libya has become a mess. Security is fragile, the economy is weak, and foreign interference continues,” Mohamed Dakhil told Xinhua.

“Twelve years ago, I used to receive a monthly salary of 900 dinars (about $700 US dollars), enough for a whole month and more. Today, I earn more than 2,000 dinars (about $400 dollars), but I cannot survive a whole month with this amount. The price of goods has reached the point of insanity,” said the 49-year-old.

Naima Baraka, Mohamed’s wife, bakes and sells traditional bread to help her husband pay the house rent and family needs. “I lost my three brothers in the war in 2011. All our conditions changed from bad to worse,” she said.

Since the fall of Gaddafi, Libya has struggled to make a political transition amid escalating violence and political division.

“The United States claimed that it helped Libya get rid of Gaddafi so that Libyans could enjoy democracy and freely choose their government. In reality, it caused chaos and insecurity and left Libyans facing a dark fate of non-statehood,” said Ismail Ben Gharsa, a 60-year-old Libyan who has five children.

“We only want America and its Western allies to leave us alone, and not to interfere in our affairs. We are able to choose the political system that is in line with our social and political traditions,” he said.

Noting that “the United States is always trying to show that it is a pioneer in democracy, human rights, and public freedoms,” Libyan political analyst Faraj A-Dali said it is not the reality because the United States “suffers from clear distortions in its system itself.”

Meanwhile, “Washington should know very well that every country has a different identity and system, that do not necessarily agree with it,” said Al-Dali, adding that “to respect democracy, one should not impose it by force.”

These remarks were echoed by Jalal Al-Fitouri, a law professor, who said, “America is trying to delude the world that it has a unique and strong regime. It should not impose American democracy by force, war, provoking strife and overthrowing regimes, as happened in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and other countries.”

“The United States claims to be democratic while, in reality, spreads war and destruction in Libya and other Arab countries, and steals their wealth under the pretext of combating terrorism,” said 32-year-old Omar Al-Sharef.

“The truth is that America is contradictory in its policies. How can the United States host a summit on democracy when it is originally a colonial country that lives on plundering the wealth of other peoples?” Al-Sharef said.