Tag Archives: Libya
Getting rid of dictators is much easier than building a political order to replace them. This is especially true in countries with a limited sense of nationhood, as is the case in much of the Middle East. As a result, the Arab Spring has exposed the fragility of the Arab state.
Libya offers a cautionary tale. Muhammad Gaddafi’s reign has left it with arguably the weakest state institutions in the region, and a very limited sense of nationhood. The country’s tribes remain all-important, and given the armed militias that many now control the National Transitional Council’s (NTC) is going to struggle to exert its authority for an extended period of time. A potentially violent Salafi contingent may complicate matters even more.
As a start, it is important to understand as much as possible the ethnic and tribal divisions that divide the country. (more…)
Despite what many commentators may believe, it is premature to declare Libya a success. As Ed Husain points out on his blog The Arab Street over at CFR.org, armed militias must still be disarmed, the central government is yet to be recognized by the country’s all-important tribes, and an increasingly violent Salafi contingent has yet to be contained.
As the Arab Spring has . . . shown, while getting rid of a dictator may prove relatively straightforward, building a new political order that is grounded in legitimacy and broad-based representation is likely to be much harder. Against a backdrop of great hopes and heightened expectations both within Libya and beyond, it has become clear that the country faces enormous challenges. (more…)