Building Democracy in Libya Will Not Be Easy

Since the death of Gaddafi under questionable circumstances, the cohesion of the transition government in Libya has begun to come under question.  Different factions fought for four days deciding what to do with the deposed leader’s body before deciding to bury it in a secret grave.  This is a prime example of the loss of cohesion and stability that is likely to plague Libya as it struggles to build a democracy after years of dictatorial rule.

One of the major problems facing the transition government is that many of the allegiances of the Freedom Fighters are to their own militias rather than to Libya as a whole.   “A basic problem is that the allegiance of most fighters who helped defeat the pro-Gaddafi forces is firstly to their own militias, whose identity is mostly based on specific towns, and only second to the NTC,” Alex Warren, of Frontier MEA, a Middle East and north Africa research and advisory firm, told Reuters (From article below).  This might prove to be a large obstacle as Libya attempts to create a democracy from scratch.  A similar allegiance problem has plagued Afghanistan, with clan allegiances overriding allegiance to a national government being a major obstacle in creating a democratic government there.

It also appears that secular and religious factions are butting heads, which could possibly lead to Libya becoming another haven for terrorist activity.  This would especially be true if the Libyan government breaks down even further due to the infighting, and ordinary Libyans begin looking for an answer to their nation’s problems.  At that point, the message of terrorist leaders may become very appealing.

Creating a new government in Libya cannot be left up to Libya by themselves.  While Libyan’s themselves should of course have the majority of influence, it appears that they need guidance to steer clear of all of the dangers that lie in their path to a stable government.  Now that the world community has helped to oust Gaddafi, they cannot simply sit back and allow Libya to revert to a dysfunctional State simply because they did not have sufficient assistance in forming a functioning democracy.  How much involvement do you think the world community should have in creating the new government in Libya?  What are Libya’s chances of success without help from the world community?

For more on Libya’s struggle to create a new government see:

One comment

  1. Based on the wide array of conflicts and the internal fighting mentioned in this article, I have to agree that the establishment of the new government of Libya cannot be left to Libya itself. The issues you address regarding the possibility for terrorism is especially noteworthy considering the scope of the modern world and the United State’s long standing war on terrorism. Unfortunately, as it is all too common for countries, after intervening within a country through force, to abandon said country after the fighting is over. As such, after ravaging a country, they leave it be and let it be responsible for picking up the pieces. If history has taught us anything, it is that this policy is ineffective and dangerous. After all, one of the largest and deadliest wars ever fought, World War II, resulted almost exclusively from problems left over from World War I after Germany was crushed by opposing forces and the left to fend for itself while complying with the impossibly strict provisions set forth in the Treaty of Versailles. Yet, over half a century later and the writing of scores of history books to this effect, the international community still neglects to learn the lessons of the past.
    Getting back to the discussion of how much control and leverage should be taken over Libya, this question is obviously tricky. Based off the lessons from the Treaty of Versailles, one must remember that they are still a sovereign people and need to be treated with respect and understanding. The only thing overly strict and regulative controls will accomplish is the desire to rebel in the near future. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: based on the amount of civil arrest currently existing in Libya, no matter what method is taken it is going to be an uphill battle.

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