Western leaders did their best to exercise restraint while reacting to news about the murder of M. Gadhafi. Jubilant, they withheld smiles and promptly switched to comments on the future of Libya, which revolved around the key idea that having the embattled country revert to normalcy would be a major challenge for its now triumphant new administration. Western media, in the meantime, are airing footage of elated crowds, but announcedly limit reporting to flocks of young people in the central squares of Tripoli, as piecing together the picture across Libyan provinces and tribal zones could produce a completely different impression.
The hunt for Libya's strongman M. Gadhafi reached the end when French pilots spotted his convoy and Libyan “fighters for democracy” did the job on the ground. Footage of the brutal murder of Gadhafi left the world in a state of shock, the inescapable conclusion being that the West has brought up in the Arab world a brand of freedom fighters who clearly have instincts of maniacal killers. With the grisly executions of S. Hussein and his supporters in recent memory, the massacre in Libya reads as a perpetuation of the tradition.
It did not evade watchers that threats against Syria's B. Assad and Yemen's A. Saleh were voiced by the same people who killed Gadhafi. They surely are the ones to know what the future holds, considering that the Syrian “fighters for democracy” currently training in Turkish camps are in no way different from the backers of the Libyan National Transitional Council, were schooled by the same instructors, and obviously have similar objectives.
No doubt, any Arab world leader is vulnerable to criticism if judged form the standpoint of Western democracy, and this simply had to be true of Gadhafi, a son of a country where life is in every regard different from what Westerners are accustomed to. The questions arising in the context are whether the murder of Gadhafi, an act of mob justice perpetrated by his pro-Western opponents, was acceptable by the Western democracy standards and, generally, what type of political culture NATO brings to the countries where it helps demolish entrenched political regimes? For example, while talk about Libya's march to democracy remains a staple, at the moment the country seems doomed to a lingering domestic conflict during which Western companies will be comfortably carving up the Libyan oil riches. The Western political class and media pretend to be oblivious to the contours of the situation, be it in Libya or in Iraq.
The death of Gadhafi is by all means a major NATO success. Gone is another defiant and nationally-minded leader, and his place will be taken by a puppet akin to those already installed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Step by step, the West is forming across the Muslim world a cohort of rulers serving the architects of globalization rather than their own nations. Who is next on the hit list - Saleh, Assad, or Ahmadinejad, and is the post-Soviet Central Asia going to be the next target?