It seemed unlikely that Libya, sandwiched between regime collapse in Tunisia and regime collapse in Egypt, could be untouched by the movement. Qaddafi has had dominion over an increasingly malcontent country, and the citizens have been increasingly disgusted by the gap between his rhetoric of direct democracy and his autocratic grip on power.
When Andrew Solomon wrote about Qaddafi for The New Yorker, in 2006, the question was whether a much-advertised reform process was really underway. The ostensible champion of reform was Qaddafi’s son Seif-al-Islam. Seif usually talks a good game, but he does so with minimal regard for the truth.
Andrew Solomon writes:
I was amazed, at a meeting with Seif and some senior American diplomats, in 2008, to hear him describe as imminent the exact same plans he’d so described to me in 2005, without the slightest embarrassment that nothing he had promised then had even inched forward. The regime has always wanted credit for its beneficent decrees, without accepting blame for its failure even to try to turn them into results. Libyans are aware that this represents a higher degree of hypocrisy than is common in most of the rest of the world. For a long time, they did not much love Qaddafi, but they did not hate him, either; he was in many ways irrelevant to their lives, which chugged along according to a tribal logic that had been in place long before the regime came to power. Libyans are leery of democracy; they like a strong ruler who can keep tribal rivalries from erupting. But they do not particularly like their current strong ruler.
Read more here: News Desk: How Qaddafi Lost Libya : The New Yorker.