According to Libyan officials, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi was killed Thursday as rebel fighters battled loyalist forces for control of the Libyan strongman's hometown of Sirte. Governments and news organizations around the world have begun to confirm the news, and gruesome pictures purporting to show Gadhafi's bloody body are surfacing. Libyans are rejoicing at the news that the brutal dictator, who ruled the country for more than four decades until his regime was overthrown two months ago, is finally dead. Here, a sampling of early media reactions:
Hooray!: "A horrible tyrant is reported dead," says Rick Moran at American Thinker. Gadhafi was the "murderer of a Pan Am 747-worth of Americans and other innocents." His death is welcome news — though we should wait until we actually see the body to truly believe it.
It's not so simple: If Gadhafi is indeed dead, there are a number of questions we must ask, says Amy Davidson at The New Yorker. "If he was killed, how? As a prisoner or a fugitive? Was it a NATO strike, or was he shot in a gunfight? Was he captured alive, and then killed? (That matters, even for him.) Who is left in his circle, who has been captured, will they be tried, and by whom?... Most of all, what comes next?"
"The death of Gadhafi"
Libya still faces huge challenges: "While Gadhafi was the symbol of the old dictatorship," says Peter Leeds at Forbes, "eliminating him does not address most of the underlying issues that have led to the revolt." Libya is still plagued by "high inflation, few jobs, little availability of food, and tensions between tribes in what is a very fragmented nation." The world celebrated the ouster of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, but little has improved after his fall — army tanks are still rolling over protesters. Libya has a rough road ahead, and now the country will likely splinter into various tribal areas. "And of course, there will still be no jobs, little food, and rising inflation."
"Moammar Gadhafi is dead. So, now what?"
And what does NATO do now? "Gadhafi himself is now off the chessboard," but "bitter experience over the last decade ought to provide major caution that insurgencies can develop and flourish even without key leaders," says Spencer Ackerman at Wired. "Libya is flooded with uncontrolled weapons, ripe for the taking." The war "is predicated on the protection of the Libyan population." Can NATO simply leave Libya now that Gadhafi is dead? "If an insurgency develops, can NATO avoid returning to Libya... ?"
"Reports: Gadhafi, 'Mad Dog of Middle East,' has been put down"