While we certainly ought to be concerned about the influence of Islamist groups in those countries that overthrew their dictators during the Arab Spring, there is good news out of Libya, where the pro-democracy forces are fighting back against the Islamic reactionaries. Reuters reports:
Chanting “Libya, Libya,” hundreds of demonstrators entered, pulling down militia flags and torching a vehicle inside the compound, Ansar al-Sharia’s main base in Benghazi – once the base of forces of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The crowd waved swords and even a meat cleaver, crying “No more al Qaeda!” and “The blood we shed for freedom shall not go in vain!”
“After what happened at the American consulate, the people of Benghazi had enough of the extremists,” said demonstrator Hassan Ahmed. “They did not give allegiance to the army. So the people broke in and they fled.”“This place is like the Bastille. This is where Gaddafi controlled Libya from, and then Ansar al-Sharia took it over. This is a turning point for the people of Benghazi.”
There is much oversimplification and demagoguery over the recent attacks. The American right wing seems to believe that the attacks were the fault of the government (or at least they want to claim that to blame Obama for supporting that government) and that everyone in Libya or Egypt is firmly in the grip of Al Qaeda or the Muslim brotherhood. But there are deep divisions in both countries, with rival groups with very different goals fighting for influence and power.