With intense NATO backing the Libyan Civil War was eventually successful in ousting the Gadhafi regime, but is far from turning Libya into anything resembling a free nation, with factional fighting almost a daily occurrence.
Instead of rebuilding from the Libyan Revolution, however, some of its fighters are looking to export the post-war chaos to Syria, as they flock to join the NATO-backed rebels there in an effort to oust Bashar Assad’s government.
“This is about the Sunni Muslims of Syria taking back their country and pushing out the minority,” insisted one of the fighters. Indeed, the rebels are taking on many of the trappings of a religious insurgency, with groups like al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) flocking to the nation to take advantage.
NATO officials have tried to present Syria’s civil war as a spontaneous uprising with overwhelming popular support, but the rebellion’s growing reliance on foreign fighters is bound to raise suspicions that it is about imposing a new model of Western-endorsed regime on the public, one that shows little resemblance to the free vote that the now-sidelined protesters were calling for last year.