Key actors, dynamics and issues of Libyan political economy (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1106)

Abstract

Query

Identify the key actors, power dynamics and issues of Libyan political economy after the Qadhafi regime.

Summary

The scene of actors in Libya is highly fragmented, localised and fluid. The main division seems to have been between forces that support continued changes (‘pro-revolution’) and others that do not (‘anti-revolution’).

  • Community actors:
    • Geographic communities. Beyond differences between Cyrenaica, Tripolitana and Fezzan, local communities have been the fundamental actors. Prominent ones have included Misrata, Zintan, Al Zawiyah, Benghazi, Bani Walid and Sirte.
    • Tribal groupings have alternatively generated conflict and conflict management.
    • Ethnicity (Arabs, Amazigh, Tuareg and Tubu) has at times been a part of conflict dynamics.
    • Further actors have included: urban notables; workplace or neighbourhood networks; and civil society as a whole.
  • Local armed groups have played the central role. The most powerful ones are the revolutionary brigades in the east and west. Other local armed groups include unregulated brigades, post-revolutionary brigades, and militias (including criminal networks and violent extremists).
  • Formal national politics has been a channel for elite struggles that stem from local interests and resources.
  • Many women and girls played major roles during the uprisings, but have been marginalised. A number of them have striven to remain active.

While some factors support peace, conflict has been dominant. Disputes have been rooted in longstanding competing claims over territory, public and private resources, power, justice and fairness. They stem from the interplay of: people’s different experiences, leading to divided views about the revolution; widespread insecurity and the mixed effects of security and conflict management through local actors; human rights abuses, impunity and weak justice institutions; inclusiveness and balance of power in formal politics; the distribution of licit and illicit economic and public resources (especially oil and gas); national identity and citizenship.

Citation

Combaz, E. Key actors, dynamics and issues of Libyan political economy (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1106). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 22 pp.

Key actors, dynamics and issues of Libyan political economy (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1106)

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.