Tags: Analysis: Rebels Solidify Control of Tripoli

Analysis: Rebels Solidify Control of Tripoli

Monday, 22 August 2011 04:27 PM

Rebel forces appear to have solidified their victory over Tripoli, but there are serious concerns over their ability to rule the country.

News outlets reported today that rebel forces now control more than 80% of Tripoli, with only small pockets of fighting in the City. One area of continued hostility is Qadaffi’s compound. The US government stated it now believes Qadaffi is still in Libya, refusing to surrender to the rebels. International governments, including the United States, are recognizing the rebel victory and calling for Qadaffi to step down to stem the bloodshed. The Transitional National Council announced today it will take 20 months to create a framework for a new government, according to the Guardian. TNC leader Mostafa Abdul Jalil also warned rebels against attacks on former Qadaffi supporters and said he hoped rebels take Qadaffi alive so he receives a fair trial.


The rebel victory in Libya now appears final, although some fighting with loyalist forces is likely to continue. The emphasis now will focus on moving from a fighting force to a governing organization. In the immediate term, the TNC will need to deal with the prosecution of the Qadaffi family, restoring stability and security in the country, and rebuilding at least temporary infrastructure in the war-torn country. The TNC then faces the difficult and likely extended project of building a post-dictatorship government of inclusion and democracy. Oil revenue could fully fund the recovery, but the new government must first restore production, which could take up to a year.

The most difficult hurdle for any new government in Libya is retaining cohesion and limiting internal fighting. Up to now, the opposition groups have been joined by a single desire to oust Qadaffi. Without that unifying goal, and with money and resources in shorter supply, squabbling and even armed conflict could emerge. There are more than 140 clans in Libya, many of whom were outsiders under Qadaffi, and are now looking to participate in a new government. Likewise, Islamists who were controlled and sidelined under Qadaffi will search for representation, and it is unclear how much influence they will have with the TNC. If TNC can create strong democratic institutions with wide-spread representation, it will be well positioned to move the country forward and take advantage of its large oil reserves. If, however, divisions break among tribal lines, Libya could face extensive tribal warfare and chaos.

Lisa M. Ruth is a Senior Analyst with LIGNET.com, a new Washington-based global intelligence and forecasting site. She is a former CIA analyst and officer and is currently Managing Partner of C2 Research, a boutique research and analysis firm in West Palm Beach, Florida. Ms Ruth also is Vice President at CTC International Group, Inc., a private intelligence firm.

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Analysis: Rebels Solidify Control of Tripoli
Monday, 22 August 2011 04:27 PM
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