Libyan story SIDEBAR — Conflict history and economic struggles


According to BBC news reports, in September 1969, Muammar Gaddafi became the dictator of Libya and remained in power for nearly 42 years before in 2011, he was thrust out of power in the search for democracy and elections by the people of Libya.

The end of Gaddafi’s reign led to a power vacuum and caused instability since there was no figure of authority in full control.

The National Transitional Council (NTC), a rebel leadership council, which had helped remove the Gaddafi government, declared Libya ”liberated” in October 2011 and took over the running of the country.

Leading up to the end of Gaddafi’s rule, many armed militias had formed within the nation but when NTC tried to impose order, they failed.

In August 2012, Libya held its first democratic election and put the General National Congress into power.  

Then in June 2014, voters chose a new parliament to replace the GNC, the Council of Representatives (CoR). This new government relocated to the eastern city of Tobruk, leaving Tripoli susceptible to control by powerful militia groups.

These new militia groups, especially the Islamic State extremist militia, saw the change in power as an opportunity to gain control of several coastal cities, including Derna and Sirte.

Finally, in late 2015, the UN agreed to intervene and create a new “unity government” called the Presidency Council. The problem was both the CoR and GNC leaders, as well as the militias, refused to acknowledge the authority of the new government.

This conflict had numerous negative effects on the country, including their oil sector which has in turn, damaged their economy.

“The big picture is this: The civil strife in Libya since 2011 has cut or at times shut down oil output,” said David Kirkpatrick, Middle East correspondent for the New York Times. “Oil sales are virtually the only source of money for the Libyan government or the Libyan economy.”

Thus Libya remains in unrest as different political figures and militias struggle for power with the country’s economy and civilians at their mercy.