Libya After Gadhafi: Transitioning from Rebellion to Rule
By Scott Stewart | August 25, 2011
With the end of the Gadhafi regime seemingly in sight, it is an opportune time to step back and revisit one of the themes we discussed at the beginning of the crisis: What comes after the Gadhafi regime?
As the experiences of recent years in Iraq and Afghanistan have vividly illustrated, it is far easier to depose a regime than it is to govern a country. It has also proved to be very difficult to build a stable government from the remnants of a long-established dictatorial regime. History is replete with examples of coalition fronts that united to overthrow an oppressive regime but then splintered and fell into internal fighting once the regime they fought against was toppled. In some cases, the power struggle resulted in a civil war more brutal than the one that brought down the regime. In other cases, this factional strife resulted in anarchy that lasted for years as the iron fist that kept ethnic and sectarian tensions in check was suddenly removed, allowing those issues to re-emerge.