Adam Garfinkle, who edits The American Interest by day and sometimes writes for the online edition by night, points out in his latest essay that, as he’s argued before, Libya was to have far-reaching consequences in direct and indirect ways:
What is going on in Mali is a direct consequence of what went on over the past year and a half in Libya…If the Tuareg manage to dig in and set up shop in northern Mali, they will eventually set their sights on parts of southwestern Libya. The Azawad, as they call themselves in their berber-family language, have an image of a homeland that stretches over several countries. If state structures are too weak to stop them, the Tuareg will take what they can while the taking is good.
That’s why the rebels in the north continue to head south with a minimum or resistance as the government collapses and is replaced by a regime that the entire region does not support.Garfinkle’s article is worth a full read, because it highlights the clear (and the less clear) connections between Libya and other problems in the Middle East. Among them, he notes, is the functional but ultimately superficial alliance between the Azawad movement and Ansar ud-Din, an Islamist group seeking an implementation of sharia law in the country, as well as the real but unacknowledged precedent Libya set for the humanitarian crisis in Syria.