Holding Libya Together: Security Challenges after Qadhafi

TitelHolding Libya Together: Security Challenges after Qadhafi
Typ der PublikationBook
Untertitel / SerientitelInternational Crisisgroup Middle East /North Africa Report N°115
Anzahl Seiten46
VerlagInternational Crisisgroup

As the recent upsurge of violence dramatically illustrates, the militias that were decisive in ousting Qadhafi’s regime are becoming a significant problem now that it is gone. Their number is a mystery: 100 according to some; three times that others say. Over 125,000 Libyans are said to be armed. The groups do not see themselves as serving a central authority; they have separate procedures to register members and weapons, arrest and detain suspects; they repeatedly have clashed. Rebuilding Libya requires addressing their fate, yet haste would be as perilous as apathy. The uprising was highly decentralised; although they recognise it, the local military and civilian councils are sceptical of the National Transitional Council (NTC), the largely self-appointed body leading the transition. They feel they need weapons to defend their interests and address their security fears. A top-down disarmament and demobilisation effort by an executive lacking legitimacy would backfire. For now the NTC should work with local authorities and militias – and encourage them to work with each other – to agree on operational standards and pave the way for restructured police, military and civilian institutions. Qadhafi centralised power without building a central state. His successors must do the reverse. A dual legacy burdens Libya’s new authorities. The first was bequeathed by Qadhafi in the form of a regime centred on himself and his family; that played neighbourhoods and groups against one another; failed to develop genuine national institutions; and deliberately kept the national army weak to prevent the emergence of would-be challengers. The second legacy stems from the way in which he was toppled: through the piecemeal and variegated liberation of different parts of the country. A large number of local forces and militias volunteered to take part in this fight. After Qadhafi’s fall, all could legitimately claim to have sacrificed blood and treasure for the cause, and all could consider themselves national liberators. (From the report's executive summary) Download full report

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