Present an annotated bibliography of key references on the political economy of Libya. Focus on references about the post-Qadhafi situation; a selection of key pre-2011 references can be used as relevant. Provide an overview of the key issues and suggest additional references.
- Libya lacks a stable, unified and inclusive state. Qadhafi wielded
oil-funded patronage and repression to weaken the state and any social
counterweight to his power.
- The predominant social and political dynamic is fragmentation based on
multiple interests, identities and loyalties. The major ones are
cities, regions, tribes (including factions and families), political
factions and religious orientation.
- Local actors and dynamics dominate politics, with a strong connection
between cities or regions and tribes. The centre is weak, while some
peripheries are empowered. This is rooted in a long-term Libyan
history of localism and regionalism. There are regular tensions around
the balance of power between power levels and among provinces.
- The new national rulers, composed of revolutionaries and the Muslim
Brotherhood, have resorted to patronage to ensure political stability,
using resources from oil and gas, and offering government
appointments. Allocation of oil money is a major stake.
- However, the political system is not always responsive to grievances
and aspirations from revolutionaries. A number of armed factions are
also alienated from national decisions. The tensions between
“pro-revolution” and conservative actors are a significant axis of
political and economic opposition.
- Security is poor and ad hoc. National security forces have very little
legitimacy and reach. An array of diverse armed groups have taken
their place. Central rulers have subcontracted security and conflict
resolution to some armed groups and local notables.
- The defining feature of the economy remains oil and its legacy of
rentier state: a starkly imbalanced economic structure; a largely
inefficient state working for patronage; and poor economic governance
(e.g. lack of accountability).
Combaz, E. Political economy of Libya after the Qadhafi regime (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1084). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 13 pp.