Libya's newly elected Prime Minister Abdelrahim al-Keib shakes hands with National Transitional Council (NTC) Chairman Mustafa Abdel-Jalil at the end of a public vote in Tripoli, October 31, 2011 (Ismail Zetouni/Courtesy Reuters).
In an earlier blog, I wrote about Libya’s political and economic prospects in the wake of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s death. In that piece, I argued that Libya has strong economic prospects, buoyed by enormous foreign currency reserves, vast oil wealth, and a relatively small population of 6.5 million people. However, its political challenges are formidable, including deep tensions between secularists and Islamists, tribal divisions and armed militias that could prove difficult to integrate into a national force. In the last week, there have been a number of troubling political developments. The gruesome details of Qaddafi’s death and the apparent execution of scores of pro-regime supporters in Surt, in particular, are of deep concern because they demonstrate a lack of effective oversight by the National Transitional Council (NTC). Widespread revenge killings of regime supporters would forecast a grim and bloody post-Qaddafi era. The immediate challenges for the newly elected prime minister, Abdelrahim al-Keib, are to unify local militias under the NTC’s command, disarm fighters, rebuild destroyed infrastructure, and get Libya’s economy running. Al-Keib, an academic who has lived in the United States for ten years, has 8 months to set up an interim government, write a constitution, and hold elections – a tall order indeed. Read more »