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After Tyranny: How Can LIBYA Avoid the Fate of IRAQ? – TIME

August 22, 2011

Libyan rebel fighters embrace at the former female military base in Tripoli, Libya on Monday, August 22, 2011.

After Tyranny: How Can Libya Avoid the Fate of Iraq?

By VIVIENNE WALT Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

Away from the dizzying euphoria on Tripoli’s streets, where Libyans have held wild celebrations of the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, there is a specter which hovers over the scene in the minds of many Libyan officials and Western governments — that of another Arab capital: Baghdad.

As opposition officials began to plot the details of a post-Gaddafi Libya during the past few months, there was an overriding sensitivity to the mistakes made in Iraq eight years ago, where the collapse of a dictator paved the way to years of insurgent war, far bloodier and costlier than the fight for freedom itself.

Just like Libyans have done since Sunday night, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis poured into the streets of Baghdad in March, 2003, to celebrate the downfall of Saddam Hussein on the heels of the U.S.-led invasion. Indeed, Gaddafi and Hussein’s careers tracked one another along the way — the coup against Iraq’s monarchy by young officers, including Saddam, occurred just 14 months before Gaddafi and other Libyan officers overthrew King Idriss in 1969. Much like Gaddafi, Saddam build a family autocracy during his 35-year rule, in which his sons held huge economic and military power. And just like the wild joyousness in Tripoli on Sunday and Monday, Saddam’s ouster in Baghdad seemed to open the path to fresh democracy, trumpeted in the West as the region’s first dramatic transformation to freedom.

via After Tyranny: How Can Libya Avoid the Fate of Iraq? – TIME.

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