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Libya's future likely bright, expert says

Though Libya currently lacks organization and established institutions, the nation has "plenty going for it," and its residents have a bright future, an expert said on "The Early Show" Friday.

Bobby Ghosh, deputy international editor for Time magazine, said, "(Muammar Qaddafi) ruled this country for 42 years pretty much by himself. They lack institutions and they are going to need help with that. But, they have a very small population, 6.5 million people, they have enormous amounts of oil. And this is an amazing statistic in this day and age when so many countries around the world are worried about debt: Libya's grand total of debt is zero dollars."

"They have a clean sheet on which to start. They are not looking for handouts from the rest of the world, but they are going to need a lot of advice, a lot of consulting and a lot of expertise, which the rest of the world is perfectly capable of providing."

Libya, Ghosh said, has a "giant pot of money" to help the country smooth over its tribal differences.

He said, "The good news is, that's what tribes do, deal-making is what they have done for thousands of years ... Deals are not that hard to make when there is enough wealth to be shared. There will be issues. I don't want to make it sound like it will be Christmas. It will be hard. For every two steps forward, there will be a step back. Some tribes will feel like they should have gotten a bigger share of the pot. They'll be occasional bouts of violence, but unlike (other countries with high populations and a dearth of oil), Libya has plenty going for it."

And looking forward, who will step in to help the Libyan people to make these changes?

Ghosh pointed to diplomacy from Britain and France, because they led the NATO campaign (that helped topple Qadaffi), as well as Italians, who have long-standing ties to the region. However, he said, the U.S. will also play "a major role."

"They will expect the United Nations to be involved, as well," he said. "But Libyans and people who grew up outside of Libya, a lot of Libyans, in fact, many fighters are people who grew up in France, and there is a huge Libyan American community that is raring to go. A lot of people in the Transitional Council are actually Libyan Americans. So there are already Americans participating, if you like, in the rebuilding of Libya."

"Early Show" co-anchor Jeff Glor noted that in Syria and Yemen, dictators remain in power. Will they be ousted?

Ghosh said Syria will take a long time, but in Yemen, "things are coming to a boil."

He said, "Across the Arab world, dictators as well as rebels, will both be looking at what happened in Libya and think 'We have to strengthen our resolve."'

Syria's people, Ghosh said, could be at risk.

He said, "(Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria) is looking at those pictures (of Qaddafi) and saying, 'I don't want to be dead and bloody on a gurney somewhere. I'm going to crack down even harder on the people who are rising up against me."

But where could al-Assad go?

Ghosh said probably Saudi Arabia. "The Saudis will take almost anybody," he said. "But not where he wants to go. He thinks he has a chance and it's not just one man. He has a large number of people around him who depend on him and their survival is important to him, as well."

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