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From Idealism To Instability In Libya


Defying the turmoil roiling their nation Libyans vote in parliament elections in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

The United States is deeply concerned about the rapid escalation of violence in Libya that could lead to widespread conflict there.

The United States is deeply concerned about the rapid escalation of violence in Libya that could lead to widespread conflict there.

In February 2011, a band of former politicians, former military officers, tribal leaders, intellectuals, members of civil society and the business community from all over Libya met to form a government opposed to the authoritarian rule of then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. This coalition government, the National Transitional Council, united all factions who fought as one to rid the nation of the brutal tyrant and his adherents. Working together, they succeeded: on October 23, 2011, the Council officially declared Libya to be liberated.

None of this could have happened without the strong cooperation of all strata of the Libyan people. Disregarding regional, tribal, and political differences, they united to open the door to a bright new future for Libya.

But unfortunately for Libya and its people, this spirit of cooperation is now being tested.

And today, significant security challenges remain. Rival militia groups have escalated fighting, most recently clashing over control of Tripoli’s airport. Not only does their violent struggle for power destabilize the country and impede Libya’s progress towards establishing a functional, democratic government; it also dishonors the spirit of the revolution - to build a new state based on mutual respect and the rule of law.

“The United States affirms its support for Libya's democratic transition and urges the seating of the new Council of Representatives as soon as possible,” said State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “We stress the vital role Libya's Constitution Drafting Assembly plays in building the new country for which Libyans sacrificed so much during the revolution. Its work must advance without interference or violence.

“Libya's future will not be secured through force of arms but only through a political accord and national dialogue that allow the state to ensure security and rule of law throughout the country. We urge all parties to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve their disputes. The United States will continue to stand with the Libyan people as they navigate these challenges and build a free, prosperous, democratic, and secure state.”

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