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Anatomy of the Libyan Crisis

In Libya high hopes for change, experienced in 2012 and 2013 after Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown in 2011 by a civil rebellion following a 42-year rule, were lost in the civil war which broke out as a result of a coup attempt in 2014 by Khalifa Haftar. This article aims to investigate the Libyan crisis by taking into consideration the actors involved in the crisis, the causes, bottlenecks and the positions of regional and international actors. The article argues that the Libyan crisis, in a sense, was shaped under the deep impact of the competition experienced among the regional actors in the Arab World following the Arab Spring and suggests that the support for Khalifa Haftar especially provided by some of the countries in the region deepened the Libyan crisis and prevented the Presidential Council established under the leadership of UN Libya Mission from guiding the political transition process in Libya.

Anatomy of the Libyan Crisis
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj speaks during a press conference following his meeting with representatives of Libyan political parties on July 17, 2016 in Tunis. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID

Introduction 

Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan leader deposed in 2011, monopolized the politics, society, economy, culture and even the forms of socialization in Libya during his 42-year rule but the “February Revolution” changed the equilibrium. While Muammar Qaddafi did not allow opposition, he also prevented the middle classes from gaining strength. A small part of the Libyan public opposed Qaddafi and some of them were arrested and jailed or executed whereas others fled abroad to continue their opposition. Large masses of the public that socialized via tribal organizations chose to stay quiet assuming a dormant but stable attitude. The unrest experienced for long years by the Libyan public against Qaddafi turned into a civil uprising with the help of the Arab revolutions that started in 2011. As is the nature of all revolutions, the whole system established during the Qaddafi period collapsed as a result of the civil uprising known as the “February Revolution” by the Libyans; many Libyan elites fled the country and those that stayed behind went underground. The individuals who led the opposition against the Qaddafi regime at home and abroad, the tribes that had to take a backseat during the Qaddafi regime, the leaders of some tribes who had to stay in the background during that period and the youth who demanded change became the new actors of Libya. 


The GNC, which is the political front of the religious, political and social groups and their armed extensions that oppose the LPA and the PC, argues for the LPA to be renegotiated and their “revolutionary” demands to be represented more strongly


As a part of the Arab World, Libya was deeply affected by the developments in the region while the “February Revolution,” a part of the 2011 Arab revolutions, was also deeply affected by the transitions in the reg

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