Local professor looks at Libya - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local professor looks at Libya

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. (KWWL) -

The Libyan conflict continued Thursday, as an audio message surfaced with the supposed voice of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's dictator of 42 years.

In it, the speaker told Libyans to go into the streets, fight the rebels and leave no place for the opposition in Tripoli. That's not only the nation's capitol, but also the location where many sources believe Gadhafi is hiding from rebel forces, who are closer than ever to overthrowing his regime.

Dr. Nancy Turner is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and has studied the Libyan conflict and its affect on the US.

She said the US could see any number of outcomes. Exactly which one, however, rides on the capture of Gadhafi, who has so far managed to evade the opposition: the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Mid-February, inspired by uprising in Egypt and Tunisia, rebel forces launched their attack against Gadhafi, but only in the last couple of weeks has the conflict escalated to the magnitude of force the world has been seeing.

The NTC has used the help of the US and NATO in its overthrow attempts, whereas Gadhafi was never on friendly terms with the US.

"He has not allowed a constitution. He hasn't allowed political parties. There's been no legislature. There's barely been an organized legal system," Turner said. "Gadhafi, for 42 years, has been the government."

She said two-thirds of Libya's GDP is oil. Though the nation is by no means the largest exporter of the resource, it would be bad for the US if, in Gadhafi's place, came a leader as, or more, hostile toward the US.

Currently, the US seems to be in good standing with opposition leaders. Turner said that's different from past regime changes in other countries where the US lent a hand.

"Unlike in Iraq, where many Iraqis were hostile or upset that they had been invaded by the US, etcetera, there won't be as much hostility to either the US or Europe in Libya. At least, that's what we think so far," Turner said.

The greatest challenge for rebels, after apprehending Gadhafi, will be establishing a new and stable form of government.

"The Libyans face a real challenge in establishing a working government," Turner said.

Officials said Thursday an agreement has been reached to allow the UN Security Council to release $1.5 billion of frozen Libyan assets to assist with the country's current humanitarian needs.

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