We are witnessing a slide into civil war in Libya - Russian lawmaker

As events continue to unfold in the Arab world, RT spoke to the head of Russia's Foreign affairs committee Mikhail Margelov, who said it is a crucial time for the whole Arab region that is searching for its new identity.

RT:From the latest news, would you describe the events in Libya as a revolution or has it turned into a civil war already?

Mikhail Margelov: Well, my feeling is that it looks more and more like a civil war. Any revolution can turn into a civil war if it does not solve all the problems of the regime change overnight. It happened in Russia after the 1917 Revolution. It was happening in several countries. So there is nothing strange.

RT:How likely is the UN-US intervention in Libya?

M. M: Well, I suspect that today when America is involved in two difficult wars in the Islamic world – Afghanistan and Iraq – the decision to get into another war, in spite of whether it is short or long, will do serious damage to the image of President Obama. I do not think for him…For domestic consumption it will be a wise decision.

RT:We do hear Hilary Clinton coming out and say that “they need assistance. Let’s help”.

M.M.: If people ask for assistance that means that the international community should consider that request. But when the leader of the Interim government, former minister of the Interior – whoever he is – says that the people of Libya are ready to solve the problems which they face in Libya themselves…Well I think if no one asks for assistance why should they give assistance? I think that for the Libyan interim government it is very important now to show that it is able to deliver. And of course there is a lot of bloodshed in Libya, but it seems like the people who are against Gaddafi’s regime are ready for sacrifice. 

RT:But some believe that Gaddafi is politically a living corpse. Who is likely to replace him? And would this person need to have the US blessings?

M.M.: I think that first of all with what is happening now in Arab world, in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya, in other countries we can hardly predict who is going to be the leader. Neither the US nor Russia, neither the EU nor the league of Arab states were ready to predict such a chain of revolutions as have happened in the Arab world. And we do not know much about the opposition leaders, because many of them are not traditional political leaders. Many of them just emerge in the street during the fight. In Libya I think we shall see many competing groups after the end of Gaddafi’s era. We shall see tribal leaders, we shall see political leaders from the north, and we shall see people who are in exile abroad and there will be a really strange cocktail of interests and spheres of interests – those who will be coming back from the US will bring them some American ideas, those who will be coming from the desert will come with the nomadic civilization, heritage…so we cannot say who is going to be the next leader, the new president.

RT:Like you have said we have seen an unprecedented wave of social uprisings across the Arab world. What do these countries have to go from now? Can they handle the situation on their own?

M.M.: Well I think that first of all we see that the new generation in Arab world is tired of ruling regimes which they did not elect. People who are in power in most of these countries ruled their countries for more than 20 years. And for those who are about 20-30 years old it is very difficult to say why they have these rulers. So their philosophy, their way of thinking, their understanding and their search for identity is something which emerges within the Arab societies. And you can hardly impose any ideology on them; you can hardly impose democracy or western standards. You can hardly impose the sheer rules of Iranian standards or even the Turkish model. I think that the discussion within the Arab world, about the future of the Arab world is only starting now.

RT:What would all this that is going on in the Arab world mean for Iran?

M.M.: For Iran, to my mind, it is a very important time. After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iran has become the strongest nation in the Middle East and Islamic world. After that, this position was challenged by changing views of Turkish government. Turkey demanded that it wants to be the strongest nation at least at the Sunni world or in the greater Middle East as a whole. And now Iran is seeing that some Arab countries after the change of the regime, after the modernization in these countries can say “No we are Arab leaders, we are leaders of the Islamic world.” And I think that there will be a really serious dispute in the Islamic world as a whole, not only including Iran, Turkey and the Arab world, but also including Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and India which has the biggest Muslim population in Asia.