Dr Emilie Combaz has completed a recent GSDRC helpdesk report, examining the political economy of Libya after the fall of the Qadhafi regime in 2011. These reports are free to read and we encourage people to circulate them widely. Dr Sandra Pogodda, HCRI Lecturer in Peacebuilding, also contributed expert input to the writing of this report.
Libya has to contend with the difficult legacy of the Qadhafi regime, which ruled through a combination of oil patronage, repression and weak state institutions. The new national rulers, who comprise the Muslim Brotherhood and revolutionaries, have used the distribution of oil resources and government posts in order to maintain their position, in the absence of a functioning and legitimate state apparatus.
Beyond this weak power centre, the political scene is highly fragmented. Further, local dynamics dominate the politics of Libya: people’s individual and group interests and identities are centred on cities, tribes and regions. This goes back to a long history of localism and regionalism which has generally left the political centre competing for legitimacy with multiple other power sources and levels.
Security in the country is also an issue, as it is largely ad hoc and maintained by various local armed groups.
This report was produced for the GSDRC Research Helpdesk. This service provides rapid syntheses of key literature and of expert thinking in response to specific questions on governance, social development, humanitarian and conflict issues. Its concise reports draw on a selection of the best recent literature available and on input from international experts. Each GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report is peer-reviewed by a member of the GSDRC team. Search over 400 reports at www.gsdrc.org/go/research-helpdesk.