As news filters through that the Libyan "rebels" have taken control of Colonel Gaddafi's compound, bringing that lunatic's reign of terror ever closer, our short-sighted media is exultant. Not very much thought is being given at all by either them or our policymakers as to what exactly is the nature of the "revolution" we've taken far too long and spent far too much money to help bring about.
The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which has played a major role in the uprisings against Gaddafi, contains former members of al-Qaeda. As author John Bradley notes in a cogently argued new article today, a key commander of this group has praised al Qaeda as "good Muslims...fighting against the invader" in Iraq. A look back at a 2007 study shows that the Benghazi region of Libya, where the rebels are primarily based, was responsible for sending more Islamic jihadists to Iraq to fight Coalition troops than any other location on Earth.
And a draft Constitution penned by the Transitional National Council, which has been officially recognised by Western leaders as the government of Libya, contains the following worrying statement:
Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).
Of course, the authenticity of this document, which has found its way online, is not 100% verified, and there are reasons to take it with a pinch of salt. It could have potentially been written by anybody. But if it does turn out to be legitimate, this declaration would not be at all surprising. After all, Coalition-backed "revolutionary" governments in both Iraq and Afghanistan implemented identical provisions in their constitutions, rendering any overtures towards Western conceptions of "democracy", "human rights" and "freedom" utterly moot. Just ask Abdul Rahman. And given the jihadist connections which are deeply entrenched within the rebel movement, a push for a sharia-based government would not be difficult to envisage.
Once again we have seen our leaders all too eager to get involved in a war in the Middle East without knowing what we actually want to achieve long-term, and without knowing who our friends and enemies actually are. In the last decade, the sheer cost in terms of wealth and human lives has been astronomical, but the positive dividends most assuredly have not.
No one will be sad to see the back of Gaddafi when he's finally caught like a rat in a hole somewhere. But perhaps more importantly, I sincerely doubt that anyone will much like what comes after he's gone, either.