Gaddafi’s death is certainly a pivotal event for the Libyan people who successfully got rid of a fierce and irresponsible tyrant. However, the death of this unpredictable and capricious despot also raises new threats and serious concerns for Maghreb countries in particular. Gaddafi has left a heavy legacy. Since taking office until his death, Gaddafi consistently worked on destabilizing neighboring states. His excessive ambition to extend his influence over the entire region, his determination to sow discord among African and Arab countries, and his full support to terrorist movements are all factors that helped create an uncertain and threatening environment.
During the last few months, Gaddafi dragged his country into civil war. In his fight against the rebellion, he armed and heavily funded the Tuaregs to fight against the rebels at first, and then return to their neighbors in the desert and stay ready for any eventuality. For some informed observers, this represents a huge stock of weapons and a potential pool of recruitment (about 600,000 individuals) that AQIM will attempt to mobilize.
This situation calls for great vigilance and mobilization from Maghreb countries, especially Morocco and Algeria. The stakes are high, as this concerns the stability of the entire region. Morocco and Algeria ought to deploy great efforts to overcome their conflict and agree on a concerted and coordinated action. The territory that needs to be under control is remarkably large, and requires enormous means that only a Maghreb cooperation can provide.
Moreover, it is worth emphasizing that supporting subversive and armed movements under the current circumstances may exacerbate the problem and escalate the situation out of control. Collaboration is needed between Maghreb states and the European states whose interests are at stake and whose citizens are often kidnapped and threatened. Europe and the Maghreb are equally concerned because the existence of any destabilizing terrorist movement in the region will automatically affect the northern shore of the Mediterranean.
Finally, it is necessary to provide support and assistance to the new Libyan authorities, in order to enable them to quickly secure the country by ending the chaos inherited from the former regime. Libya’s transition period is highly uncertain. This state can’t rebuild itself alone, especially after a devastating civil war.
Ultimately, Maghreb states are called upon to get a grips on this problem and find a quick and coordinated solution.
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