Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy [December 8, 2011]   [open pdf - 570KB]

"After more than 40 years of authoritarian repression and eight months of armed conflict, fundamental political change has come to Libya. The killing of Muammar al Qadhafi on October 20 and the declaration of Libya's liberation by the interim Transitional National Council [TNC] on October 23 marked the end of the Libyan people's armed revolt and the formal beginning of the country's transition to a new political order. Overcoming the legacy of Qadhafi's rule and the effects of the recent fighting is now the principal challenge for the Libyan people, the TNC, and the international community. The transition period may prove to be as complex and challenging for Libyans and their international counterparts as the recent conflict. Immediate tasks include establishing and maintaining security, preventing criminality and reprisals, restarting Libya's economy, and taking the first steps in a planned transition to democratic governance. In the coming weeks and months, Libyans will face key questions about basic terms for transitional justice, a new constitutional order, political participation, and Libyan foreign policy. Security challenges, significant investment needs, and vigorous political debates are now emerging. […] Initial reports from Libya suggest that local militias and some emergent political groups may oppose certain TNC policies and seek to maintain their armed status during the transition period. In spite of sporadic low-level conflict and serious government capacity gaps, TNC officials remain confident in Libyan unity, and Interim Prime Minister Abderrahim al Kib swore in an interim government on November 24. As Libyans work to shape their future, Congress and the Administration have the first opportunity to fully redefine U.S.-Libyan relations since the 1960s."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33142
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