The new Libya will be a Muslim-influenced state, but is not likely to become a new launching pad for Islamic fundamentalism as that African country moves beyond the Moammar Khadafy era, a Boston University international affairs expert said today.
Augustus Richard Norton, professor of international relations and anthropology, was reacting to reports from Libya this morning that Khadafy has been killed.
Norton also said he does not expect Libya to collapse into anarchy and starvation as has happened in Somalia for several reasons, but most especially because Libya has oil, natural gas, and other minerals worth billions of dollars.
“I think there is a lot going for it that is not going for a lot of the other Arab states,’’ he said in describing the situation in Libya.
He said Libyans are overwhelmingly Muslim and the new government that is formed will be influenced by that reality. But, he said, he can envision a democracy similar to Italy emerging – where personal ties and a certain amount of corruption drive politics — but not one that mirrors the British government.
Norton also said that the end of the Khadafy regime could inject new momentum into the insurrection in Syria, but it will also likely lead to a tougher stance by the Syrian leader, President Bashar Assad, whose forces have killed thousands of protesters in recent months.
Norton said if Khadafy has been killed, then Libyans lost an opportunity to put the most hated man in their country on public trial as part of a national reconciliation.
But there is still a need and a chance for Libyans to “look in the mirror’’ and hold the Khadafy supporters that have survived accountable for their actions since 1969, provided they do it in fair trials, not show trials.