Muammar Gaddafi is dead, and Barack Obama’s partisans are hailing the Brave New Libya as a triumph for his administration. Speaking about the Libyan revolution in March, Obama hailed “the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny,” saying now they have done it. It may, in fact, give him a boost in the polls, bolstering his manufactured image as a fearless anti-terror crusader, bagger of bin Laden, al-Awlaki, and now Gaddafi. But much less likely is the possibility that the end of Gaddafi’s regime will actually secure the rights of peaceful assembly and free speech for Libyans, or be any benefit to the United States.
This is hard for many people to believe. After all, Gaddafi has been waging war against the U.S. for so long that it was fully 25 years ago that Ronald Reagan dubbed him the “madman of the Middle East.” But following in Gaddafi’s wake is likely to be a Sharia regime that will be even more virulent in its anti-Americanism than he was—and much better connected internationally.
Supporters of Obama’s intervention in Libya generally assumed that the forces that were revolting against the Gaddafi regime were secular and oriented toward Western values. When Gaddafi was captured and killed, the victors were chanting “Allahu Akbar.” This is a common enough chant in Muslim countries, especially on such occasions, but in this case it was emblematic of the imminent replacement of Gaddafi’s bizarre Islamosocialist cult of personality with a straight Sharia regime populated by al-Qaeda elements.
It is likely that the new America-backed regime will compete with the Gaddafi regime in its hatred for America and the West, and become noted for being even more anti-American than he was. David Gerbi was one of the many who believed the mainstream media news stories about plucky Libyan revolutionaries fighting for freedom against a repressive regime. Gerbi, a Libyan Jew who had lived in exile in Italy for decades, took people like Barack Obama at their word and believed that what was happening in Libya was a wonderful throwing-off of oppression and reaffirmation of human rights. He decided to return to Libya to rebuild the synagogue in Tripoli, a once-grand structure that had been used as a garbage dump during the Gaddafi regime.
But when Gerbi arrived in the new Libya, he was in for a rude awakening. Demonstrators outside the synagogue revealed to him the brutal truth behind all the fog of political correctness: Carrying signs with inscriptions such as, “There is no place for Jews in Libya,” they made it abundantly clear that they believed that his attempt to rebuild the synagogue was yet another plot of the Zionism they detested, and the enlightened democratic revolutionaries called for Gerbi’s deportation. Gerbi ultimately returned to Rome.
Gerbi’s case was not isolated. Islamic law mandates a humiliating second-class status for Jews that, among other discriminatory regulations, forbids them to repair old houses of worship or build new ones. And Islamic law is going to be the foundation of post-Gaddafi Libyan society. Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of Libya’s Transitional National Council, declared before a jubilant crowd in Tripoli in September that Sharia would henceforth be the “main source” for Libyan law. Likewise Sheikh Abdel Ghani Abu Ghrass, a popular imam in Libya, who told a crowd of thousands in Tripoli, “We must underline the Islamic character of the new Libyan state,” and that Libya “should be governed in conformity with Sharia.” Libya’s new draft constitution declares: “Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence [Sharia].”
Obama probably sees nothing amiss in all this. He has never shown any awareness of or concern about the possibility that Islamic states might in themselves constitute a threat to the United States.
Obama would do well to heed the words of the Egyptian Islamic jihad leader Sheikh Adel Shehato, who declared in August that the problem with Mubarak was that he did “not rule in accordance with the Sharia. … As Muslims, we must believe that the Koran is our constitution, and that it is impossible for us to institute a Western democratic regime.” Shehato said that if a Sharia regime came to power in Egypt, “of course we will launch a campaign of Islamic conquest, throughout the world.”
Once those holding the same sentiments secure their power in Libya, more conflict with the U.S. is inevitable.