Post-Qaddafi Libya: What went wrong?
February 17, 2017 marked the sixth anniversary of the Libyan uprisings. However, for Libyans there is not much to celebrate considering the fact that the country remains in a state of brutal civil war with a severe power and security vacuum. Even though there have been two general elections in Libya, there are still two governments – UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and eastern-based House of Representatives (HOR) – refuting each other’s legitimacy while the rest of the country remains in a state of turmoil as numerous armed groups control large swaths of land all across Libya. This article explores the reasons why Libya instead of transitioning into a stable and democratic state, fell into turmoil and why it continues to be in such a state. Doing so, this article argues that polarization is the primary cause for the existing turmoil in Libya as distrust and scepticism amongst different societies runs deep. However, polarization itself is simultaneously facilitated by historic grievances, as well as institutional shortcomings, security vacuum and international intervention. These four factors are not mutually exclusive, and hence lead towards exacerbation of polarization in Libya which makes the task of national reconciliation extremely hard to achieve. By highlighting these factors, this article envisages the need for national reconciliation amongst all major groups and actors in Libya, whom are willing to put grievances and feelings of distrust to rest. Moreover, for there to be any prospects of national reconciliation, it is also crucial to attain disarmament in Libya which forces all actors to settle their differences in an institutional environment rather on a battlefield.