Although the results of Saturday’s Libyan election will not be released for days, concerns are growing that radical Islamic group the Muslim Brotherhood could play a key role in the government of the new democracy. This could be problematic for the United States, which has spent $1.1 billion in resources in Libya recently.
The Secular Party, led by Mahmoud Jibril, is claiming a strong showing in the election, which was the country’s first post-civil war election, though official results aren’t expected for several more days.
However, the party likely won’t win enough votes to win control of the 200 person National General Congress outright and will likely be forced to form a coalition government with the Justice and Construction Party, which has strong association with the Muslim Brotherhood. There has even been some suggestion that Mustafa Abu Shagour, currently the interim deputy prime minister of the Muslim Brotherhood, will assume the role of Prime Minister and head of government.
The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the largest Islamist organizations in the world and is often connected to terrorist activities. In addition, the other Islamist party in Libya, The Nation Party, is led by Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, who has previously been associated with Al Qaeda.
President Barack Obama released a statement congratulating Libyans “for another milestone on their extraordinary transition to democracy,” and promised that “the Libyan people can count on the continued friendship and support of the United States.”
But if anti-American parties do end up controlling the Libyan government, this will be seen as another blow to President Obama’s policy of supporting uprisings throughout the Arab world. The United States spent more than $1.1 billion helping to remove former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from power in Libya. This possibility of a setback is compounded by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups also taking power in Egypt and Tunisia.
While the recent uprisings and revolutions are leading to more elections, it remains unclear whether the results will be beneficial to America or the native populations. Considering that the United States has spent the last decade fighting terrorism, the American people will certainly not be better off having spent billions of dollars to support governments that are dominated by anti-American sentiment and support for terrorism.