A little over one year ago, Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was brutally murdered by his own people. If he's able to laugh from the eternal torment of Hell, he must be laughing at all those liberals in America and the West who had gushed about an "Arab Spring" being at hand.
In a revealing article in last week - "Jihadists' Surge in North Africa Reveals Grim Side of Arab Spring" - Robert F. Worth reports:
As the uprising closed in around him, the Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi warned that if he fell, chaos and holy war would overtake North Africa. "Bin Laden's people would come to impose ransoms by land and sea," he told reporters. "We will go back to the time of Redbeard, of pirates, of Ottomans imposing ransoms on boats."In recent days, that unhinged prophecy has acquired a grim new . In Mali, French paratroopers arrived this month to battle an advancing force of jihadi fighters who already control an area twice the size of Germany. In Algeria, a one-eyed Islamist bandit organized the brazen takeover of an international gas facility, taking hostages that included more than 40 Americans and Europeans.
In a sense, both the hostage crisis in Algeria and the battle raging in Mali are consequences of the fall of Colonel Qaddafi in 2011. Like other strongmen in the region, Colonel Qaddafi had mostly kept in check his country's various ethnic and tribal factions, either by brutally suppressing them or by co-opting them to fight for his government. He acted as a lid, keeping volatile elements repressed. Once that lid was removed, and the borders that had been enforced by powerful governments became more porous, there was greater freedom for various groups - whether rebels, jihadists or criminals - to join up and make common cause.
Of course, part of the problem also is the Obama administration's increasing disengagement from the region. Sometimes, there are not good choices and bad choices - only bad choices and worst choices. Expect more problems in Afghanistan and Iraq as those countries fend for themselves - and thugs move in to fill the resulting power vacuums