Libya: NTC Must Exercise Authority And Tackle Militias
Libya: NTC Must Exercise Authority And Tackle Militias. This is the Libya Herald op-ed version of my monograph.
The current situation in Libya can best be characterized as a struggle pitting the ‘center’ that controls national institutions, the flow of oil, and billions in unfrozen assets against a marginalized ‘periphery’ that can challenge the center’s legitimacy via its use of force and appeal to local loyalties.
The key problem today is not security, per se, but rather a hesitant NTC that is often reluctant to exercise its authority — preferring negotiations and extending patronage networks to its opponents rather than swiftly enacting government decrees. At present, the NTC appears to be operating under a mistaken “security and legitimacy-first” doctrine which maintains that bold initiatives cannot be undertaken until further stability is achieved and an elected government takes office after the June elections. Paradoxically, only by redressing the current center-periphery imbalance can Libya achieve the security required to jump-start its economy and hold free and fair elections.