Following our Thursday report that the State Department website still had Muammar al-Qaddafi listed as the ruler of Libya, today the crack web team in Foggy Bottom updated its site to reflect that the Libyan revolution did in fact succeed.
The new note updates the name of the country from the "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" to "Libya," noted the date of the revolution as Feb. 17, 2011, displays the flag of the new Libya, and recognizes Libya's interim Transitional National Council as the official government. Interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib is in Washington this week and met with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"Drawing from the local opposition councils which formed the backbone of the "February 17" revolution, the Libyan opposition announced the formation of a Transitional National Council (TNC) on February 27, 2011. The Council stated its desire to remove Qadhafi from power and establish a unified, democratic, and free Libya that respects universal human rights principles," the website now reads. "On October 23, 2011, 3 days after Qadhafi's death, the TNC officially declared Libya liberated."
Now that's what we call change you can believe in!
At an event Friday morning at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Keib spoke about the sacrifices of the Libyan people during their struggle against the Qaddafi regime and the atrocities that Qaddafi's forces committed during the revolution.
"I am not sure if I should say this, but you need to know that many of our young men and women were raped, and for others, reproductive organs were literally cut off," he said. "As the revolution was entering its second month, things were looking painfully grim, and we all held our breath. But courage, resolve and the decisive point of no return was reached, and this turned events around. You, the international community, chose not to sit quiet and watch as we were being massacred."
He also defended his government's handling of the transition period, which has faced criticism due to the failure to reign in militias, the lag in restoring government services in Tripoli, and the slow progress of rebuilding the Libyan economic sector.
"There are some who chose to dwell today on our challenges, on our differences and on our mistakes. I have no problem with that. But I believe that in so doing, they lack both perspective and an understanding of history and of the human spirit in Libya," said Keib. "And we have all the institutions of the state to rebuild from scratch, a huge challenge but a truly exciting one."
He also defended the new Libyan law that reintroduces polygamy as an acceptable practice.
"How many of us have a wife and more than one without being wife? You know, many of us, unfortunately, do that," he said. "But in Libya, I guarantee you, this is not going to be something of a problem, and I don't think this is something that people want to do. I don't know how it came out, but don't worry about it, OK? It's not going to be a problem. I guarantee you this."
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.