Libya Remains a Terra Incognita June 2012
On February 2011 Foreign Affairs published an article entitled "Libya's Terra Incognita" underlying that Libya will face the difficult task of repairing a society long traumatized by the Middle East's most Orwellian regime. Libya lacked both legitimate formal institutions and a functioning civil society. The new, post-Qaddafi era, therefore, is likely to be marked by the emergence of long-suppressed domestic groups jostling for supremacy in what is sure to be a chaotic political scene. Today, this incognita can't be solved. Despite the regime's breakdown, the death of Muammar Qaddafi, and the scheduled elections, there remains a concrete possibility that a pacific transition to democracy will fall down. Protracted instability in the country could have serious consequences not only for the South Mediterranean region but also for European countries. The need for a national reconciliation process in Libya, the creation of new institutions, and a renewed balance between the various power components require a major effort and commitment to "state building" by both domestic and international actors. This mission is by no means easy to accomplish. Several cleavages and internal confrontations between different centers of powers can be outlined. There are some "centrifugal" forces, while others are "centripetal". The former are the militias, the numerous political parties and the regional groups claiming autonomy from Tripoli. The latter are the central authority, Islam, and the rentier state aspect. Starting from the 2011 civil conflict and the fall of Qaddafi's regime, this ISPI Studies analyses the current situation in Libya and try to outline some aftermaths of this difficult transition.

Arturo Varvelli, ISPI Research Fellow, presents the study.



New Lybia between the Past and the Future

Luis Martinez

The unexpected end of the Qhadafi's regime achieved in October 2011 leaves many unanswered questions. During the six months of war which preceded the collapse of the regime, the National Transitional Council... continue

Post-Qadhafi Libya: the Electoral Dilemma

Alice Alunni and Karim Mezran

The phase of transition following the end of Muammar Qadhafi's regime is marked by uncertainty and clashes between militias and local ethnic groups, with the National Transitional Council trying to... continue

Libya on the Road to Democracy: a Revolution with Many Heroes and Many Problems

Mansour Omar El-Kikhia

Libya's road to democracy is paved with obstacles. This wannabe-democracy has to deal not only with the lack of political institutions, state security organizations and police forces but also with the potentialemergence of Islamic fundamentalists out of the chaos.... continua

Italy and new Libya between Continuity and Change

Arturo Varvelli

Italian government, as other European countries, was surprised by the first upheavals of Arab Spring. Italy and Libya have enjoyed a privileged relationship for the last forty years. After the decision of military intervention, preoccupied by the risk of geopolitical marginalization.... continue

Post-Qadhafi's Libya in Regional Complexity

Antonio Maria Morone

The Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings culminated peacefully because their respective national armies ensured as much as possible an orderly transition; on the contrary, in Libya the national army collapsed and the uprising rapidly turned itself into civil war among armed Libyan factions... continue


Arturo Varvelli (Head of Research), Alice Alunni, Mansour O. El-Kikhia, Luis Martinez, Karim Mezran, Antonio M. Morone.