There was a moment Friday in the Egyptian capital when the people’s vaunted uprising brought to mind Tehran in 1979: Just when the left-wing secularists thought they had ousted the Shah, the Islamists ousted them.
Hundreds of thousands of ultra-religious Islamists packed this capital’s central Tahrir Square in an unprecedented show of support for the creation of an Islamic republic, rather than the planned unity demonstration in collaboration with secularists. In doing so, they drove a stake through the heart of a united revolutionary movement that had brought together Egyptian Islamists and secularists, Muslims and Christians, and shared the goal of democratic elections and the punishment of the corrupt regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Col. Moammar Gadhafi once pronounced himself the “king of kings”, but despite his grandiose notions he has had a profound impact on Africa. And for better or worse, he will leave a vacuum behind him on the African landscape if he is toppled from power in Libya.
This map (click through for larger version) goes with Geoffrey York’s story on how Libya’s leader bought political influence across the continent, paying for peacekeeping missions, infrastructure and humanitarian aid.