What's clear is that his death marks the effective end of 42 year-tyrannical rule and comes at the heel of successive military victories by the TNC forces. The demise of Qaddafi is only the beginning of the much tougher task of re-building Libya on new firm and democratic foundations. In a country that lacks minimum institutional structures, that task is increasingly difficult, complicated by deep regional and tribal divisions.
This latest episode in the Libyan saga will undoubtedly bring about the end of the military involvement of NATO in the conflict. It also signals a shift in international interventionism in global affairs as it is a successful precedent for calibrated and measured military involvement against states' imminent threat to their own people. It inevitably raises issues of double standards as the same approach has not been pursued in other cases, such as Syria, Yemen and Bahrain still reeling from tremendous state violence.
The news from Libya today will also provide much needed boost to some fledgling protest movements in other parts of the Arab world. This could embolden protest and oppositional factions as there is a increased palpable sense of regime vulnerability in much of the Middle East today. Some already see it as a message to Arab rulers for swift meaningful reforms.
As Libya celebrates its emancipation from the last vestiges of the former despotic regime, Tunisia is entering a new chapter in its nascent political history. The country is holding its first post-Ben Ali and the first post-Arab spring elections for a 217-member constituent assembly on Sunday. The stakes are high for the Maghrebi state, but the first phase of voter and party list registration concluded last month in relatively calm and transparent environment. Some 10000 candidates from over 100 parties are contesting the elections, but the major cleavages remain the Islamists of Ennahda and the center left (secular) Progressive Democratic Party (PDP). Future posts will attempt an analysis of the results of the elections and future trajectories for the Tunisian experiment.