Monday, October 24, 2011

Tripoli's Power Vacuum

Writing in The National, Bradley Hope paints a picture of Tripoli that isn't pretty:
"The deposed leader is dead and its temporary leaders have declared the country 'liberated.' Yet the capital, in particular, has become a patchwork of armed fiefdoms, as wannabe power brokers backed by hometown militias made up of former clerks, students and engineers battle with each other and with natives of Tripoli for the spoils of war, a slice of the country's wealth and a share of political power - all of it, in their way of looking, up for grabs.

"Kidnappings and disappearances are the new currency in the swelling conflict, with outright shootings a tactic of last resort. The creeping mayhem is fuelled by an infusion of weapons that has turned Tripoli into a virtual armoury."

Much like Iraq in 2003, Libya appears to have no nation-wide institutions capable of keeping a semblance of public order. Revolutions breed chaos, and even in Tunisia and Egypt there has been a steady undercurrent of private vigilante violence. The most challenging task for the National Transitional Council in Libya is not to decide on the nature of Libya's state, but simply to construct a state where Qadhafi's personalized organs of control have evaporated.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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