The Middle East Channel

Planning for Libya 2.0

Finally, it seems that Libya’s rebels have momentum on their side: They have pushed back Muammar al-Qaddafi’s forces on multiple fronts and are poised to encircle the capital of Tripoli. Libyans, and the entire world, will no doubt cheer the country’s liberation, but it’s not time to celebrate yet. Even if Qaddafi falls sooner rather ...

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images
GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Finally, it seems that Libya’s rebels have momentum on their side: They have pushed back Muammar al-Qaddafi’s forces on multiple fronts and are poised to encircle the capital of Tripoli. Libyans, and the entire world, will no doubt cheer the country’s liberation, but it’s not time to celebrate yet. Even if Qaddafi falls sooner rather than later, the immediate post-war period will still pose serious risks to both Libyans and the international community.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. A botched transition to a new regime could imperil the security and welfare in a post-Qaddafi Libya, discredit the NATO intervention, provide haven to international terrorists, lead to a new dictatorship, and even break up the country. We know from the experience in Iraq how costly a poorly planned transition can be.

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Daniel Serwer is a professor of conflict management at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He blogs at www.peacefare.net and tweets @DanielSerwer.

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