Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy [September 9, 2011]   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Muammar al Qadhafi's 40 years of authoritarian rule in Libya have effectively come to an end. The armed uprising that began in February 2011 has reached a turning point, and opposition forces now control the capital city, Tripoli, in addition to the eastern and western areas of the country. Most observers doubt the rebel gains are reversible. However, the coastal city of Sirte and some parts of central and southern Libya remain contested, and, isolated groups of pro-Qadhafi forces remain capable of armed resistance. The U.S. military continues to participate in Operation Unified Protector, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military operation to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorizes 'all necessary measures' to protect Libyan civilians. As of September 9, Muammar al Qadhafi had not been located or detained, and opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) leaders are urging their forces to exercise restraint and caution so that Qadhafi, his family members, and key regime officials may be captured alive, formally charged, and put to trial. [...] Libya's citizens, transitional authorities, and rebel fighters now face the task of overcoming Libya's history of weak government institutions, potentially divisive political dynamics, and the effects of the fight to overthrow Qadhafi. Security challenges, significant reconstruction needs, and political uncertainty are likely to characterize events in Libya over the coming months. Congress may consider and debate means for assisting Libya's transitional authorities or supporting international security efforts."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33142
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