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Hybrid Political Order in Libya: State, Non-State, and Armed Actors

Libya, inspired by the February 17 revolution but devastated by post-revolt challenges, is struggling to build order, as state, non-state, and external actors exacerbate the already fragile security environment. Among these actors, state and non-state actors pose a repeating and paradoxical dilemma. Libya’s post-Qaddafi state structure has been formed by non-state armed actors, and at the same time these actors threaten the survival of the state; certain non-state armed groups compete against each other to accumulate more power, while in some cases being legitimized and funded by the state itself. The root causes of this paradoxical situation can be scrutinized by investigating the security culture inherited from Qaddafi’s regime, particularly its inefficient and ignored security institutionalization, and the efforts of the competing armed groups to dominate their areas of influence in the absence of a coherent state structure.

Hybrid Political Order in Libya State Non-State and Armed Actors
 

 

Introduction

 

Libya is not a new state; it has a deep history with customs typical of the Maghreb. When compared to most states, Libya has a highly educated population and natural resources that may yet facilitate a state of prosperity and stability.1 Despite Libya’s potential, the February 17 Revolution’s weakly organized structure, in addition to the security culture inherited from the Qaddafi regime, caused major shortcomings in the ‘new’ state. Such a shortage of civic security thinking and architecture coincided with the revolution of 2011 whereby various militias in Libya were able to topple the regime and disperse or destroy the ‘poorly existing’ secured environment in ‘their’ portion of the country.2 Eventually, fluctuating, non-institutionalized, and disorganized security establishments emerged, challenging each other and the legitimate authority alike.

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