Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Mustafa Abdul Jalil

The year 2011 began with Mustafa Abdul Jalil in the rather unhappy role of Libya's Justice Minister, serving the personality cult regime of Muammar Gaddafi, serial human rights abuser. As the year draws to a close, with Gaddafi dead and buried, Jalil is essentially Libya's acting president in his capacity as chairman of its Transitional National Council. To say 2011 has been a wild ride for Jalil would be an understatement. He presided over a sometimes dangerously divided rebel leadership in Benghazi (where he'd been sent by Gaddafi to quell the uprising, and instead joined it), earning his council international recognition and the support of the players necessary to help oust Gaddafi, and rebuild the country. Now, with the dictator gone, the power struggle among the various factions and regional militias of what remains a rag-tag rebel movement is intensifying. But the mild mannered and humble Jalil remains the single leader most widely trusted to steer the country towards democratic stability. That's a role he couldn't possibly have imagined himself cast in just a year ago.