Libyan revolt has global impact

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hundreds of Libyan rebels blasted through the green gates of Moammar Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli Tuesday, taking yet another step in what is presumed to be the imminent demise of the dictator’s 42-year rule.

A change in power could potentially end – or at least ease – strong anti-West sentiments in the Middle Eastern country and bring with it several other global changes.

“The price of oil will come down and continue to come down if the new government will continue to get the pumping together,” said Dr. Mark Griffith, the Political Scientist for the University of West Alabama.

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“The Arab Spring will continue and blossom as other Arab nations will have more pressure to change and modernize.”

Another side effect could possibly be an exodus of liberated citizens.

“I would look for more global movement of people and pressure on Europe if many people from Libya leave,” Griffith added.

Griffith noted a shift in policy between the Obama and Bush administrations in the work to depose communist leader Gaddafi.

“We let the countries with direct investments in Libya take the lead but we did the initial important bombing, provided $900 million and the major logistical support for NATO,” he said. “NATO will continue to be the led by the United States. What is clear is that the President has a different view of foreign policy where US leadership will be part of global action and not independent like President Bush.”

“The U.S., U.N., NATO and Europe will all try and help Libya,” Griffith said. “The easy things will be unfreezing the assets of the former regime.”

“Other aid will help with the oil fields but the aid will depend on whether there is a stable government and peace.”

The full recovery of the country could take years, Griffith said, and it may take even longer to evaluate if the U.S. has picked up an ally or foe.

“We have learned that many of the countries that go through a transition from a authoritarian government have a long period of transition,” he said. “It took the former Soviet Union and many other countries years of transition to change. It is not clear that Libya will be our friend or enemy but only be clear much later.”