Saturday, August 27, 2011

Is Qaddafi relevant?

In much the same way that over time Osama bin Laden became less essential to track down, now it is Moammar Qaddafi who day-by-day becomes a less essential figure.

Yes, killing bin Laden was symbolically important; his death provided an element of closure for the families who lost loved ones almost 10 years ago, but it also was a symbolic destruction of al Qaeda. (Let's be clear -- al Qaeda is not dead.)

Where is Qaddafi? is a question that has been asked many times over the past week. On the run and acting as a cowering animal would, Qaddafi is no longer a dictator who controlled Libya for more than 40 years. The National Transitional Council has been recognized already by multiple nations, and at some point in the near future one of its representatives will assume the formal role of leader.

Of course, capturing Qaddafi (killing him and finding him already dead also are options) remains of symbolic importance; that action would confirm that he no longer controls the levers of power that allowed him to intimidate his people for so long. However, the longer he remains the on-the-run wimp (oh, and by the way, where is his oh-so-confident son, Saif al-Islam?), the longer he confirms that he is not relevant to the future of Libya.

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