By Haidar Hussein Ali
On April 9, 2003, I was in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad observing the situation on the ground, as American tanks and armored vehicles filled the streets, and following the repercussions outside Iraq.
My attention was then drawn to a statement by Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq’s permanent representative to the United Nations under Saddam Hussein, to the foreign media about the situation in Iraq, as he summed up the whole thing in only two words: “Game over!”
Today, 16 years later, I am following the updates in Libya and I believe the situation is almost the same, but with different circumstances, though the result is or would be similar.
In 2003, an American army marched towards the Iraqi capital to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. In 2019, the Libyan army advanced on the capital of Tripoli to overthrow Prime Minister Faiez al-Sarraj of the Government of National Accord (GNA) who could not receive the support of the House of Representatives, so he sought the international legitimacy that has enabled him to rule certain areas of the country since 2016.
Despite the differences between the two armies and their objectives and identities, the result which Baghdad saw in 2003 began to loom large on the horizon in Tripoli in 2019.
When the regime of Saddam Hussein lost its legitimacy internally and externally, it fell and its game was over according to Aldouri.
Today, Sarraj’s rule is reeling under the military operation conducted by the national army in the capital, and gradual losing its foreign support after the GNA was proved to rely on mercenaries and extremists coming from around the world.
Now, I and other observers of the Iraqi and Libyan situations are waiting for Libya’s Permanent Representative of the GNA to the United Nations, Elmahdi Elmajerbi, to say: “Game over” or something like that. The question is: Is the game of Sarraj over like Saddam Hussein’s? Or is it still too early to tell?