What would the Libyan people choose, if they could?

As with the recent Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, the Libyan people are nearly united against their current ruler but have expressed no consensus as to what they want instead, beyond “democracy.” As Gaddafi systematically suppressed all rival political parties and all labor unions, NGOs and other institutions of civil society throughout his rule, the people have had few ways, in all this time, to make their views and desires known. What will they choose, if given the chance? E.g., how strong is political Islamism in Libya? Does anyone have a vision of “socialism” other than what they had under Gaddafi? Or do they want free-market capitalism? Does democracy mean more or less power to the tribal chiefs in this tribal country?

This is a very good question. The problem I see is that no one knows who would take over after the Gaddafi. My husband worked there and said that talking politics was forbidden.

At any rate, I haven’t seen any protester in Libya holding anti-Israeli or anti-U.S. signs. (But, then, they’re trying to distinguish themselves from Gaddafi.)

News is murky, but apparently the rebels have chosen ex-Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abdul Al Jeleil to be Chairman of their interim government.

There is also something called the National Libyan Council, which purports to be “the political face of the revolution” but not (yet) an interim government, and which apparently does not (yet) recognize Al Jeleil as head of any such.

There are also two pretenders to the throne of old King Idris: Muhammad as-Senussi and Idris al-Senussi. No idea whether they have any support in-country.

I have no idea, and I doubt they do as well at the moment. I hope they look towards Norway as an example of how oil profits can benefit an entire country and not just the dictator and his cronies. I am sure Norway would be willing to send a team of advisers to help them set up an equivalent fund once the rubble clears. Their populations are comparable also, so that can give an idea of the best case scenario.

One point on which the rebels have expressed clear agreement is “a united Libya with Tripoli as its capital” – IOW, nobody is interested in seceding and forming an independent East Libya or something; instead, they’re committed to taking Tripoli.

They are begging for a no fly zone to prevent Kadaffy from using jets on his own people. They want a united Libya with a new form of government. What that would end up being is a big question.

What about the Libyan Berbers? (Practically all Libyans are ethnically Berbers, but some are more culturally Arabized than others.) The Tuaregs and the Tebu? I believe it was Gaddafi’s policy to minimize their cultural distinctiveness and make everybody speak Arabic – will they demand more regional and/or cultural autonomy now?

At this point I’d kinda like to take a big eraser and scrub every border from Algeria’s east to India’s west and just start over.