Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
Congressional Research Service Washington United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Libyas political transition has been disrupted by armed non-state groups and threatened by the indecision and infighting of interim leaders. After an armed uprising ended the 40-plus year rule of Muammar al Qadhafi in late 2011, interim authorities proved unable to form a stable government, address pressing security issues, reshape the countrys public finances, or create a viable framework for post-conflict justice and reconciliation. Elections for legislative bodies and a constitutional drafting assembly were held and transparently administered from 2012 through 2014, but were marred by declining rates of participation, threats to candidates and voters, and zero-sum political competition. Insecurity was prevalent in Libya in the immediate wake of the 2011 conflict and deepened in 2014, driven by overlapping ideological, personal, financial, and transnational rivalries. Resulting conflicts involving Libyans in different parts of the country drove the political transition off course. At present, armed militia groups and locally organized political leaders remain the most powerful arbiters of public affairs. Criminals and violent Islamist extremist organizations have exploited these conditions, and the latter have strengthened their military capabilities and advanced their ideological agendas inside Libya and beyond its borders.