More than two years since the ouster of dictator Moammar Qaddafi, Libya today faces numerous challenges – from deteriorating security to political paralysis to economic stagnation. Libya’s troubles can be attributed to numerous factors, including failure by the revolutionary leadership to acknowledge that foreign support was instrumental in defeating the ancien regime. Such mistakes raised expectations about the Libyan authorities’ competence to govern, but the state’s ineffectiveness undermines its legitimacy and inevitably cedes ground to centrifugal forces, including jihadists and criminals who sow further instability. In order to reverse these negative trends, the Libyan government must forge consensus around a national program, including robust implementation of a national dialogue process. These and other initiatives will require diplomatic and technical support from Libya’s international partners if the global community wants to ensure that Libya stays on track with the democratic transition.
S. Karim Mezran is Senior Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Centre of the Atlantic Council of the United States and Adjunct Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University;
Lara Talverdian, Assistant Director for Research, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East of the Atlantic Council