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Libya through Hungarian eyes

August 26th, 2011

Left and right wing analysts are united in their delight over the fall of Colonel Gaddafi, as well as in their concern over what will happen next in Libya.

Writing in Magyar Nemzet, Gábor Stier compares the events in Libya to the régime change in Eastern Europe over twenty years ago. The ramshackle army of victorious rebels is commanded by the dictator’s former associates, and “the observer feels like shouting desperately at the jubilant revolutionaries, to warn them to take care, for they are going to be deceived. But the observer abandons his quest, knowing that they will not believe him. A sobering moment will come later, Gábor Stier suggests, and then we will all feel sorry for the destiny of the ‘Arab Spring.’”

The right wing commentator also raises the issue of international law, suggesting that the United Nations’ mandate to intervene in defence of the civilian population has been interpreted rather liberally by NATO, proving once again that “the strong feel authorized to do whatever they please…. But never mind, for the moment let us rejoice that, after all, a dictator has been overthrown.”

Ferenc Kepecs, a leading foreign affairs commentator at Népszava, rules out the prospect of a European style democracy in Libya, at least in the foreseeable future. He fears that Islamists will turn out to be the only organized force nationwide, and blames them for the murder of Fatah Junis, the military commander of the rebels on June 28. Islamists are part and parcel of the victorious rebel army and will certainly play a role in the new power structure, he writes. Hopefully the West, by helping to chase out Gaddafi, has not prepared  the ground for a new hornets’ nest of terrorists, as in Iraq eight years ago.

But the left wing analyst also ends his commentary on a note of optimism: “The victory of the uprising in Libya is a great event, with repercussions throughout the Arab world, and will produce, in the end, an authentic democracy. The question is, what is going to happen in the meantime.”

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