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The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath$
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Peter Cole and Brian McQuinn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190210960

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210960.001.0001

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Libya’s Uncertain Revolution

Libya’s Uncertain Revolution

(p.17) 1 Libya’s Uncertain Revolution
The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath

Dirk Vandewalle

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how the removal of Libya’s dictatorship raised significant worries over how its new rulers would create new governing institutions and a sense of identity and community out of the ashes of a history that, since 1969, had glorified the very destruction of those institutions. It argues that Libya’s difficulties in statebuilding and national identity flowed partly from a conflict that kept military and political power fragmented and allowed no single institutional or charismatic authority to emerge. But it also notes that the conflict also reawakened more structural dilemmas of Libya’s national identity, state identity, and concepts of citizenship within the country’s political system, which the transitional government could not resolve or address. It argues that the challenges the country faces remain enormous and include creating an institutionalized state in a country where state institutions were deliberately neglected for several decades; incorporating citizens further into a national identity that has not been clearly defined beyond some references to Islam; the need to make Libyans meaningful participants in the country’s political and economic life and to wean them away from a patronage system that had, in return for some of the riches of an oil state, demanded political quiescence.

Keywords:   Libya, Qadhafi / Gaddafi, post-conflict transition, oil, identity, statebuilding

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