(Editor’s note: Written by Richard N. Haass, the president on the Council on Foreign Relations, this article addresses the very recent news of the capture of Tripoli and what Libya needs to do next.)
Events in Libya have reached the proverbial beginning of the end, but as is often the case, the truth is that it is closer to the end of the beginning. It is only a matter of time, and quite little time at that, before what is left of Colonel Muammer Gaddafi’s era ends. Four decades after it was established, some six months after the world community decided that Col Gaddafi had to go, the regime is crumbling. Defections are multiplying, the favoured son is now in custody, and the rebels are at the gates of the capital Tripoli.
It has been difficult reaching this juncture, but now the truly hard part begins. It is one thing to kill the king and oust the ancient regime, something very different and much more difficult to put something better and lasting in its place. The rebels – in effect a disparate mix (coalition would suggest something more structured than is the case) of individuals and groups, from former regime loyalists to liberal secularists to Islamists – have little in common beyond their opposition to the continued rule of Libya’s first family. Now that this goal is about to be realised, their disagreements could well take centre stage.
Read the rest of this article on the website of the Council on Foreign Relations.