Isobel Coleman

Democracy in Development

Coleman maps the intersections between political reform, economic growth, and U.S. policy in the developing world.

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Libya’s Post-Qaddafi Prospects

by Isobel Coleman
October 21, 2011

Anti-Qaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in Sirte, Libya, October 20, 2011 (Saad Shalash/Courtesy Reuters).

In the wake of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi’s death, I posted an article on CNN.com this morning analyzing Libya’s economic and political prospects. I argue that of all the Arab countries affected by the region’s upheaval, Libya has the brightest economic outlook. It has a small, well-educated population and large reserves of oil. At the same time, its political challenges are formidable, including an absence of effective institutions and a strong distrust of government. Tensions are flaring between Islamists and secularists and between rebels who stayed and fought and more technocratic leaders who have returned from exile. There are also questions about how women, minorities, and former members of Qaddafi’s government will fare in the new order.

The piece sparked vigorous debate among those commenting on CNN.com. Many express strong doubts that democracy can take hold in Libya. And indeed, democracy is all too rare in the Arab world, with no good models for Libyans to follow. But I am not willing to write off the chance that a stable and democratic Libya can emerge. With its talented people and a treasury flush with cash, Libya certainly has a shot.

You can read the CNN.com post here. I look forward to your thoughts.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by Tauseef

    Thank you for your encouraging thoughts on Libya’s democratic prospects. The forces of past are very well seated but we have a globalized, inter-connected and an inter-dependent world and this can work to Libya’s advantage. I hope that we all can contribute in establishing peace in Libya and spur economic activity that lead to better channelizing of Libyans energies.

  • Posted by zere

    Libya new leaders committed a grave error in displaying the dead leader for days. this will remain as a mark of the new regime .Any explanation will not comfort people in anormal debate

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