A Law Unto Themselves
Understanding the militias is still the order of the day in Libya. But now the precedent of an elected government getting ousted in Egypt has given further legitimacy to ‘armed action in support of the people’ while potentially spurring Islamists and Islamist-leaning militias to give less weight to the democratic process. You can read more of our thoughts as published in The Majallah about the militias and the Islamists here.
It appears that, spurred on by members of the populace, the central government’s patience with militia-on-militia violence is finally wearing thin and that decisive actions may finally be in the offing. But nine months ago, we thought the swearing-in of Zeidan’s first cabinet was a similarly auspicious occasion—but that was proven to be overly optimistic.
While Egypt and Syria exercise dominance over the global headlines, Libya is rapidly approaching yet another fork in the road: the militias’ increasing assertiveness could destroy any prospects of a transition to constitutional democratic governance or, conversely, it could prove to be the militias’ final undoing. The Libyan people are growing weary of the myriad of armed groups who claim to be acting on their behalf. Possibly, the injection of some new blood into Libya’s top political echelon might gradually lead to a long-awaited change in the game plan. Conversely, there are indications that the oft-delayed constitutional process may never happen, or that it may unfold so slowly that the militias will entrench themselves as permanent, quasi-legitimate political actors. The rise of Afghan-style warlord-ism abetted by Pakistan-style Islamist-dominated government security forces seemed quite remote eighteen months ago. Now, it no longer does.