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Local Expert Weighs In On Libya’s Official Transition To Democracy

(credit: PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three days after the death of Moamar Qaddafi, Libyan rebels have declared liberation and say the country will be guided by Islamic principals. One local expert said the transition to democracy is good news in the short term, but the long-term picture is murkier.

Ed Turzanski is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and teaches at La Salle University. He said the Obama administration’s limited, U.N.-backed role in the Libyan revolution accomplished its aims.

“We only spent a billion dollars, we didn’t lose a single man and a brutal tyrant is gone, unlike Iraq where it took hundreds of billions, tens of thousands of lives lost and broken.”

Turzanski said the long-term outlook for Libya is dimmer and the brutal death of Qaddafi may be a portent of a chaotic transition.

“A country that is tribal, that has lived under a brutal dictatorship, that has no usable democratic past may not become disciplined as quickly as we would like it to.”

Turzanski added the greatest threat to U.S. interests is the possibility that terrorists will get a hold of some of the glut of weapons that entered Libya during the last eight months.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio.