News / Africa

For Libya’s New Leaders, a Test of Optimism

Al Pessin

Shortly after celebrating last month's ouster of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya’s interim leaders are faced with the reality of governing a nation torn by months of war and decades of one-man rule.

Still working to consolidate their hold on the country, National Transitional Council chiefs face some of the same obstacles that hampered post-autocratic efforts in other parts of the world.

Potential insurgency by lingering Ghadafi’s supporters, says Emile Hokayem, senior fellow at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, is just one several immediate concerns.

"The NTC needs to be very careful about not going for retribution or reprisal," he said, "but actually drawing some figures of the previous regime into the new political configuration."

Failure to do so amounts to what some experts call an “Iraq scenario,” wherein former regime troops and political supporters join an insurgency that undermines stabilization efforts.

But Libyan businessman Salem El-Maiar describes the analogy as misleading.

"In Libya the comparison is viewed as irrelevant," El-Maiar said. "It’s completely a different scenario and [set of] characteristics than Iraq."

Libya’s interim leaders, El-Maiar says, are working to establish a new national identity to replace old political and tribal loyalties.

"The concept now is 'we are all under the umbrella of Libya,'" he said, explaining that only civility and working toward advancement can compensate for "42 years we had in misery.”

But Hokayem says that such ideas are much more easily discussed than instituted.

“I’m not worried about the competence of the bureaucrats," said Hokayem. "I worry more about the existence of politicians who actually can get it right in terms of the rhetoric, in terms of the symbolic first actions in the transition."

NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil tried to make that start on Monday. Speaking of the “dignity” and “honor” Libyans earned by overthrowing Gadhafi, he promised a government based on "moderate Islam."

Even before the speech, British Foreign Office Spokesman Barry Marston said there was reason to be hopeful.

"We’ve been very impressed by the amount of thought [TNC leadership] has been putting into planning a democratic future," he said. "So long as there is this wide participation, we have grounds for optimism."

As celebrations subside and the hard work of transition begins, the only certainty is that optimism will be tested.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid