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Chaotic Libyan Arab Spring: A comparison with Egypt
Libyan spring occurred due to many reasons which were quite similar in nature with that of the spring struck neighboring countries. Qaddafi’s family and tribe wealth increased many folds. Human rights abuses were normal patterns. However, Libyan spring didn’t end as it did in the neighboring countries. Due to Qaddafi’s deposition, the power vacuum resulted. This was because of the abhorring of Institutions by Qaddafi himself. The tribal division also resulted in a chaotic situation. Large reserves of oil in Libya are also one of the reasons for the never-ending civil strife. Due to high revenue, every group wants to establish hold over the reserves. Libya’s rivalry with Israel is also accredited as one of the rationales behind Libya’s anarchic situation. Neighboring countries are also playing a big role in the civil war. Libyan revolution resulted in chaos, while the neighboring countries got on the track of somewhat stability and peace.
Chaotic, Tribalism, MENA Region
“Zenga Zenga, bait bait, dar dar.” These were the words uttered by Muammar Qaddafi, the four decades ruler of Libya. He used these words to threaten his enemies of a hunting chase, which means in Arabic as “inch by inch, house by house, home by home, alleyway by alleyway,” (KERSHNER, 2011). This is what is actually happening in Libya from the last 8 years, the only difference being that Qaddafi is dead and it is no more a one group chase, but a multi-group chase and rivalry.
Arab Spring that started in Tunisia with the self-immolation of a fruit cart vendor Muhammad Bouazizi, soon spread into the neighboring countries where the situation was alike Tunisia. Libya was also hit by an uprising. The Libyan autocrat, whose had a unique style of dressing in his uniforms and then the flowing robes, called the uprising in his country as a something instigated by a foreigner by giving “pills” (Muammar Gaddafi speech Translated, 2011) to the youth and planned to call for the march of his supporters. He also tried to use the element of Islam to counter the uprising, but it seemed too late.
There is a difference of opinion between different scholars on, who uprooted the rule of Qaddafi. Finn is of the view that he was removed by the rebels, “…...one of the longest-serving rulers in the world until rebels drove him from power this week.” (Finn, 2011). Kafala believes that it was the internal chaos and internal problems that led to the removal of the long-standing ruler. “Freedom of speech and association were absolutely squashed and acts of violent repression were numerous.” (Kafala, 2011). On the other hand, Wintour believes that it was the outer intervention that brought an end to Qaddafi’s tenure. ‘a NATO alliance that comprised of Britain started bombing attacks that resulted in the deposition of Qaddafi. He was finally removed from his office in August and killed by his internal rival in October’ (Wintour, 2016). The inner void created by the dictator was something that attracted the outside powers for intervention. Qaddafi contacted Tony Blair, the ex-Prime Minister of UK during the uprising and asked for the support of western powers, to which Blair replied, ‘Washington and the EU are in a hard posture right now and I have to take something back to them which guarantees that this ends serenely. If the masses find the leader with them, they would get pleased with that’. (Wintour, 2016). Therefore, his unpopularity and cruelty with his people opened the way for his deposition.
Qaddafi had a bad reputation in the eyes of the neighboring Arab leaders. He spoke against the Saudi royal family, had clashes with neighboring countries of Egypt and Chad. He started an armed conflict in Chad to seize the Aouzou Strip, which is rich in Uranium deposits (Dorsey, 1983) but was given back to Chad after the decision of the International Court of Justice’s ruling. Qaddafi inspired by Nasser’s personalities. ‘Nasserite inspiration was fundamental to Qaddafi's revolutionary development. It started early, during the last days of primary school and the beginning of his secondary education’ (McDermott, 1973). However, he was not impressed by Nasser’s successor Sadaat opening towards Israel and joining hands with the western powers. Libya and Egypt had some harsh diplomatic relations after 1973 and some border skirmishes occurred between both the countries in 1977. The regional countries were not happy with Qaddafi and his use of Libyan’s oil money against them.
He also had a bad repute in the west. President Ronald Reagan called him a “mad dog of the middle east.” (Ronald Reagan calls Colonel Gaddafi Mad Dog, 2010). He asked all Arab youth to volunteer for the Palestinian cause and register their names in any Libyan embassy and spoke of supporting the Irish against Britain. He also clearly stated that all those opponents who have had dealings with Egypt, Israel, and the US should be killed (Davis, 1990). It was not just the Lockerbie incident or the Gulf of Sidra incident, but he was against the western domination in the region and he openly spoke about it in different summits of OIC as well as in his speeches in the UN General Assembly.
The question here arises, why did Libya as a state failed as a result of the Arab spring, while its neighboring countries survived. We will make a comparative study with neighboring Egypt. People of both countries have lived under the decades-long rule of the dictators and lived in more of a police state where Human Rights, Freedom of speech and freedom of expression were in tight state control. The following are some of the reasons, which made other countries hit with the spring survived and didn’t end into civil war, while Libya plunged into a never-ending armed conflict.
Qaddafi was of the opinion that all the peaceful and armed struggles in the world are the result of hunger for power. “All political systems in the world today are a product of the struggle for power between alternative instruments of government. This struggle may be peaceful or armed, as is evidenced among classes, sects, tribes, parties or individuals. The outcome is always the victory of a particular governing structure – be it that of an individual, group, party or class – and the defeat of the people; the defeat of genuine democracy”. (Qaddafi, 1975). He believed that if a person gets elected by 51% of votes, he rules the remaining 49% of people who didn’t vote for him. This according to him was a dictatorship. Qaddafi being head of the Libyan masses, advocated the idea of no rule on the masses. “So, Qaddafi resolved to rule without a state. His constant revolution, insatiable political experimentation, and refusal even to acknowledge that he is Libya's ruler—instead, he calls himself the revolution's supreme guide—all represent efforts to conceptualize and construct a stateless polity in a world of states.” (Anderson, 2001)
Qadhafi overthrew the 1951 constitution and brought his version of laws in Libya. Qaddafi had an anti-hierarchical and anti-ranking approach. His Greenbook, which served as a constitution for Libya until 2011, states that all people are equal. Libyan system under Qaddafi had a General People’s Congress which had around 2700 members. The Revolutionary Command Council, which consisted of the 12 members who aided the brother leader in 1969’s revolt, oversaw the GPC. Although many regarded General Abdul Fattah Younis, the interior minister, as Qadhafi’s second in the government’s ranking but looking towards Qadhafi’s idea of anti-hierarchism this seems odd.
The Libyan armed forces under Qadhafi were powerful in taking actions on Qadhafi’s orders within the country and region but he debilitated the military. This was done to save himself from the coup. “…..to shun the rise of commanders who might work against his family, Qaddafi tried to weaken the regular armed forces, and instead of three loyal “regime protection” units often of his own tribe.” (Apps & Maclean, 2011). His family members were given the key posts in the military. Therefore, in return, they paid back in the shape of allegiance and homage. Institutions play a very important role in the development and right functioning of a state. They are the support system of an organized and modern state. ‘It has been argued that the establishment of a weak institutional system and the creation of a state of chaos was one of the strategies used by Qaddafi to sustain his regime’ (Hweio, 2012). Enduring and sustaining of his regime came at the cost of weakening of state institutions, though he called Libya as a stateless society. ‘By the time of his deposition, there was no parliament, no joint military command, no political parties, no union bodies, no civil organizations and no nongovernmental bodies in Libya. His ministries were meaningless, with the distinguished anomaly of the state oil company. ‘ (MacFarquhar, 2011). As per his Green Book, he was a disbeliever of any parliament and political party system in Libya.
The main brigade of the military, 32 Reinforced Brigade, became related to Qaddafi’s son Khamis. US ambassador to Tripoli wrote in 2009 in a telegram, ‘An additional hurdle is the reality that Libya is a kleptocracy in which the government - either the Qaddafi family itself or its political partners - has a direct share in things who were worth purchasing, selling or owning’ (Al-Qadhafi: The Philosopher-King Keeps His Hand In, 2009). The main power of Libya including its economy, state and military affairs remained with the Qaddafi family. ‘“….. the Great Leader holding near-absolute power, providing for a dearth of other political players” (Moss, 2011). Judiciary was not functioning freely and there were analogous courts made, named as ‘People’s court’. In such courts, political opponents were trailed. Transfers and postings of judges were not on merit. ‘The structure of judiciary was more of a settlement by executive interference, malversation, and outdated curricula and training…. prize or reprove judges for arrangements either harmonized with or conflicting to the benefits of the government were given in the form of transfers to other courts.’ (Challenges for the Libyan Judiciary: Ensuring Independence, Accountability and Gender Equality, 2016). Judiciary as a pillar of the state was not working freely as required.
His family grasped prime power. ‘As the loop around Qaddafi shortened, his sons gradually became his guides, but it was not clear if he had selected any one of the sons as his heir. It is believed that he played one as the counters to the other, granting and then suppressing favor, exactly the way he did with others who might contest his rule’ (MacFarquhar, 2011). Though nepotism and corruption did exist in Egypt and other neighboring countries affected by the spring weak or absence of state institutions remains the primary reason for the chaos that exists in Libya to date.
Tribal divisions in Libya
Tribalism remains one of the crucial realities of
the MENA region. A big percentage of the people living in countries like Saudi
Arabia, Yemen, UAE and Libya are tied to their tribes in one way or the other.
‘Amman, Riyadh, Manama, Sana’a, Kuwait, Doha, and Abu Dhabi.
In all of them, tribal flags fly next to national ones, and tribal distinctiveness plays a crucial role in the influencing of decision-making procedures of the state, and even in the creation of national identity. Tribal distinctiveness in the above-mentioned countries is so solid and central that the identity is efficiently opposing with the two powerful identities -- Islamism and nationalism’(Zakaria, 2013). They at times act as a pressure group influencing state policies domestically and in their foreign policy. Tribalism in the MENA region is at times linked to Islam but it date backs to times before Islam arose in the region. ‘tribal affiliation is measured to be non-Islamic since it spreads a blind faithfulness toward blood relatives irrespective of their individual worth or mitigating circumstances’ (Layne, 1987). Though tribalism has a lot of benefits for people within the tribe. It is at times problematic because of inter-tribal conflicts for acquiring benefits in the shape of power, money or territory. Dresch believes that tribalism can be beneficial in some ways. ‘Stable opposition is the code to be found in the Middle Eastern scenario of tribal affiliation. Since opposition takes place at more than one level, the design we require is that available in the idea of division’ (Dresch, 1986). According to him, it is more for the segmentation of society. Dahhaj, on the other hand, talks about toxic tribalism, ‘Faithfulness to one’s particular tribe or social cluster to the point that doctrine and dysfunction become the standard’ (Dahhaj, 2018). Its when the belief arises that one is superior to the other. This creates animosity and hostility in society.
Libya remains one of those countries in the North African regions where the tribal divide is very high. ‘currently about 90 percent of the entire populace is connected to a tribe, whereas only 10 percent are not related organically to any tribe, remarkably in the cities of northern Libya’ (Al-Shadeedi & Ezzeddine, 2019). Tribal connections are very strong in Libyan life as most of the people are linked with their tribes in one way or the other. However, El-Doufani believes that the tribal affiliations are diminishing in Libya day by day. ‘Though, tribal affinity has been on the decline due to the rising education rate and development, which detached individuals from their tribal areas and helped to make their tribal bondage weak.’ (El-Doufani, 2011). But the involvement of tribes and changes of loyalty within the Libyan tribes and the Qaddafi government shows another harsh reality of existing tribal affinities in the country. ‘Youngsters were mobilized through tribal systems, and the instantaneous help of eastern tribes who didn’t help the regime early on in the uprising permitted the rebels to free Cyrenaica first with ease.’ (Al-Shadeedi & Ezzeddine, 2019). Tribalism is not always defective, as stated earlier but at times when the state organs are not matured or not working properly, it can result in never-ending conflicts like the one going on in Libya. ‘He then tiled his hold on influence by settling rival tribes counter to one another, gratifying those faithful to him with political arrangements and punishing those that contrasted him’ (Baxley, 2011). Political appointees were working everywhere, in the Libyan judiciary, ministries, committees and military.
Libyan society is based on tribal associations. ‘‘The structure of Libyan society is principally tribal. It should not be forgotten that the name of Libya comes from the millenary tribe of the Libu’ (Lamma, 2017). It existed even before the Ottoman rule in the 16th Century, the Italian colonial era and even during King Idris’ era. Lamma argues that the Ottomans used these tribes for monetary gains like a collection of taxes and for controlling their trade. The Italians when tried to take the tribes out of the power base, they failed miserably. ‘‘Therefore, the segregation of tribes from power wired tribal connections and kinship assemblies instead of uniting the Italian administration’s stronghold. This is visible in the Cyrenaica tribes’ pronouncement to back the Sanusi struggle against Italy’ (Al-Shadeedi & Ezzeddine, 2019). They supported King Idris, who belonged from the Sanusi tribe. However, when Qaddafi staged the coup, he announced to minimize the role of these tribes in the political arena. ‘Qaddafi and his colleagues had vowed to eradicate tribalism upon grasping authority in 1969’ (El-Doufani, 2011). However, when the popularity of the Brother leader started to decline, he started gaining the support of the tribes for his regime's survival. ‘In the starting days of Qaddafi’s hold, he tried a lot to create a unified national identity that surpassed tribal affiliations; though when Qaddafi’s fame deteriorated in the state, he comprehended that using tribal allegiances was his best hope for staying in office’ (Baxley, 2011).
Qaddafi failed to deliver many of his promises and covering him from the failure he started relying on tribal connections and indeed the tribal affiliations are still a reality in Libyan society. ‘When he was unsuccessful to deliver his promises, his fame diminished. As a result, he used different tactics and referred to tribal chiefs to safeguard his authority’ (Al-Shadeedi & Ezzeddine, 2019). The Libyan tribe and Qaddafi regime were linked to one another through Clientelism, where favors are given as a result of Compliance. ‘In addition to asymmetry and affectivity, Clientele bondages do carry reciprocity. It’s a give and takes. What is to be exchanged, and in what quantities, are determined by the specific needs each side brings to the bondage’ (Carney, 1989). Loyalty is an important factor in the relationship but it is based on mutual concessions. Many tribes were given key positions in the country to take their support. ‘Key positions in the executive branch and security apparatus hinged on a person’s tribal membership. Warfalla, Magariha and Qadhadhfa significantly profited’ (Al-Shadeedi & Ezzeddine, 2019).
Though many tribes were supporting the Qaddafi regime, many tried to revolt. There was a law passed, where an individual fault was counted as of the whole tribe he belonged to. All the tribes got a collective punishment in this regard. ‘In 1997, a ‘code of honor’ was passed by the Libyan legislation, which permitted the imposition of communal punishment against tribes and clans – usually in the form of withdrawal of government services – when they got involved in anti-regime ventures’ (Mokhefi, 2011). Mokhefi also deliberates about the eastern tribes, that they were not happy with the Qaddafi rule and they were often suppressed. These tribes were the ones who revolted against him at the beginning of the Arab spring. ‘Numerous tribes wanted to increase their hold over national matters, particularly tribes from eastern Libya who felt sidelined’ (Baxley, 2011)
In circumstances where the state organs are not let to get matured for personal gains, when unpredicted events occur, a long-standing conflict or civil war arises. The same happened in Libya during the 2011 uprising. ‘The deposition of Qaddafi created a political and security void that affected Libyans in all spheres of the country. State organizations had by now been weakened by Gaddafi’s administration, and they rapidly crumbled as the revolt started’ (Al-Shadeedi & Ezzeddine, 2019). The state apparatus fell apart. Even tribes that were affiliated to him started distancing themselves and left the regime helpless. Warfalla tribe, which was once seen very close to Qaddafi, withdraw their support of the regime during the uprising. ‘We communicated Qaddafi, that he no longer is a brother, we told him to go from Libya’ (Karam, 2011). The following graph shows the negative role of Libyan tribes in governance matters and its effect on state security. They are viewed by a majority of people like the one who uses violence in their areas against others.
(Al-Shadeedi & Ezzeddine, 2019)
In other countries hit by the uprising like Egypt and Tunisia, where the regime change occurred, tribes do exist but the tribal affiliations, as well as the role of tribes in the political arena, are less as compared to Libya. ‘The knowledge of bordering countries displays that tribalism and ethnocentrism can be taken under control in less rigid manners’ (Baxley, 2011). They have mature state institutions like judiciary, military, parliament and an organized civil society working for many decades. ‘Whilst the traditional opposition only performed a restricted role in Tunis and in Cairo, in Libya the absenteeism of organized arrangements and institutions was more striking. In this way and whilst the syndicates and labor groups contributed to the increase the compression on Ben Ali and Mubarak, they were wholly absent from the Libyan revolt’ (Lamma, 2017). Tribes play a role in social organizations in parts of Egypt like Upper Egypt. ‘While tribalism is seldom labeled as the main ingredient of Egyptian life, in the region that I explored, and maybe in all areas of Upper Egypt, tribalism has been and is vital to social association’ ( Nielsen, 2006). But as the state institutions are working, these tribes never tried to replace the state organs. And that’s one of the motives why countries like Egypt and Tunisia, who had the same history of dictatorship like Libya got saved from the civil strife. ‘Today, the oil states have a 50 percent chance to be governed by dictators and more than double chance to have civil conflicts as the states with no oil.’ (Ross, 2012)
After King Idris of Libya was informed about the discovery of oil in Libya, he said “I wish you people had found water. Water makes men work. Oil makes men dream,” (Dumas, 2017). His remarks come very much pertinent with Libya after his rule and even for Libya ridden with bloodshed.
A country’s natural resources are a big way of earning a huge sum of money. However, instead of becoming a blessing, sometimes this potential turn into a curse. Ross explains this in his theory of oil curse, where according to him oil has become more of malediction. ‘In Libya, oil money contributes to a wholesome of revenue and is making the ailing country run. ‘‘the oil, which used to bring in 96 percent of the country’s income’ (Amrani, 2015). He is of the view that the developed countries with oil resources have not fallen prey to civil wars because of economic diversification and strong democratic institutions in those countries. However, al-Rashed is of the opinion that its not the oil that is cursed but it is due to the ignorant rulers who didn’t use this black old in a proper way. ‘There is no “curse of oil” but a curse due to those whose lands have an abundance of oil as they misuse the biggest opportunities in the history of their states’ (al-Rashed, 2018). Both arguments stand right in different circumstances. However, the foreign and domestic policies of the Libyan ruling class can not be avoided in this regard. Corruption and use of this oil money for personal interests and not for general masses remain one of the top reasons for the Libyan uprising. Though, many facilities like education and health were provided to locals as well as the Libyan GDP remains one of the top ones in North Africa (Libya facts and figures, 2019) but the feeling of deprivation in the east where the oil was produced remained high.
The civil war in Libya resulted in cutting down Libyan oil export from 1844 thousand barrels per day in 2010 to 1074 thousand barrels per day in 2018 (International Energy Statistics, n.d).
The above-mentioned image tells about the oil fields and pipelines in Libya and one can see that the majority of oil fields exist in the east. After the 2014 elections for the House of Representatives (HoR) in Libya, claims were brought to Libya Supreme Court. The Supreme court nullified the elections. As a consequence, the HoR moved to the east and based its parliament in Tobruk. General Haftar and its army are supported by the Tobruk based HoR. The General National Congress (GNC) is considered as the working government in Libya by the United Nations. Both the factions are fighting for the entire control. The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is the only entity recognized for oil exports from Libya by the International oil companies (Factbox: Libyan oil production, exports, customers, 2011). It means that whosoever controls the oilfields isn’t going to be of any benefit to them, as the international community has just authorized the NOC as the only oil-exporting body. However, some speculations are being reported that this oil is sold illegally by the Haftar militia. Mustafa Sanaulla, the chairman of NOC said in an inauguration of Oil and Theft conference held in Geneva, ‘The oil smugglers have spread not only to the militant groups who regulate most of Libya, but also the oil supply companies whose work is to bring low-priced oil to Libyans,’ (Lewis, 2018). He also provides 30-40 percent as figures of oil smuggled from Libya, which makes it around $750 million annually. Militias who need to buy weapons and pay their soldiers' salaries must be getting the best out of this scenario.
The question here arises that why Libya as an oil-rich country got struck with civil war and not other oil-rich countries. So here again one must agree with al-Rashed (2018), where he calls Qaddafi as ‘ignorant’. He didn’t use the oil resources to bring unity and development in his country. He rather provided to his chosen tribes and people and focused less on eastern Libya. The civil war in Libya is not started by the oil but oil became one of the most important paycheques for carrying out the strife for this long. The international players are also interested in Libya because of its oil reserves. Libyan oil, which is regarded as the best sweet crude oil in the world which is low in sulfur and is extremely in demand in the Mediterranean and Northwest Europe (Gupte, Farrel, & Guida, 2018). This somewhat highlights the interest of the European powers in Libya. Most of Libya’s oil is managed by state-run oil companies and a comparatively small share is given to International oil companies (Top Oil Companies in Libya, 2013). These International oil companies and their respective states might be hoping to get a bigger and safer share in the oil reserves of the country as they enjoyed a bigger role during King Idris’ era. However, the unstable situation in the Libyan sphere is pushing all these International oil companies out of the scene, which is causing a negative impact on the Libyan economy. ‘Libyan NOC is currently vulnerable without a strong and unified Libyan government’ (Ellafi, 2019). France tried to unite the militias and the two claiming governments but failed somehow. Regional as well as international powers are trying to support their Libyan allies to get a final grip on the main affairs of the state.
The Libyan oil reserves which are fueling the fire of civil war and resulting in a downtrend of Libyan GDP. This may result in further chaos. Other countries in the MENA region who have vast oil reserves are managed by leaders who have good standing internationally and domestically.
US interests in the MENA region visa via Israel
The survival of Israel has always remained one of the core objectives of US foreign policy towards the MENA region. Washington has supported the countries which recognized, kept peace treaties or remained tranquil towards Israel. These countries gained US trust and kept on good standing with them. Qaddafi was very critical of Israel and had anti-Israel policy during his initial decades of rule. He even kept bitter relations with countries in the region that recognized Israel. ‘However, differences between both the countries, particularly regarding Egypt’s relations with Israel and Qaddafi’s outspoken opposition towards the Middle East Peace process, continued to put their relations under strain’ (German & Taylor, 2004). It even expelled Mauritian workers working in Libya, when Mauritius recognized Israel in 1995. The brother leader on many occasions talked taking part in the Israel-Palestine issue on behalf of Palestine. On an occasion in 2002, Qaddafi said, ‘'Thousands of Libyans are prepared to protect the people of Palestine: I challenge the leaders of the Arab World to open the borders for them to enter into Palestine and take part in the Palestinian uprising’ (Ronen, 2004). However, he brought a change in his approach. He never normalized relations with Israel, neither recognized it but somehow stopped openly talking about destroying Israel. He talked about a single state solution for Palestine and Israel, where they should live together and even called Israel and Palestine ‘idiots’ because of their struggles for separate states (Gaddafi calls Israelis, Palestinians idiots, 2005).
In order to save his country from the US war on terror and the US sanctions, Qaddafi not just ended his program of weapons of mass destruction but also camouflaged his harsh anti-Israel policies. Even there were reports of Qaddafi’s elder son Saif’s meetings with Israel officials in Paris in 2004, which were not confirmed by Libya. Libya wasn’t trustworthy in the eyes of Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was reported to have said that the chances of having good relations with Libya didn’t "appear serious" (Hints on Libya-Israel relations, 2004). The main reason for this all was that Qaddafi was not trusted by anyone in the region and globally.
But all this didn’t earn him any respect in the eyes of the US, Israel or other western powers. He is said to have contacted the Israeli counterparts for help during the 2011 uprising but got no help in return. ‘On Gaddafi's behalf, the messenger…. asked that Israel pressurize the Washington and Paris to take efforts to reign in armed action’ (Gaddafi Sought Israeli Support Amid Libyan Uprising, 2016).
On the other hand, other neighboring countries that were hit with the uprising had a normal relationship with Israel and some are believed to having covert diplomatic channels with one another. Qaddafi was not reliable for the US objectives towards Israel-Palestine issues. Preservation of his rule was in no way guarantee that in future it will play a positive role in the US plan towards the region.
Libya which is struck by the internal strife for more than 5 years is a unique case in the MENA region after the Arab Spring and the overthrow of its long-standing autocrat. While other countries stuck by the same uprising have also not produced the desired results. However, they didn’t face the internal chaos except for Syria where other external factors played a major role. The main reason why Libya went into a civil war between different militias and representatives lies on the shoulders of Muhammad Qaddafi. He ruled autocratically leaving no space for other institutions to grow out of his grasp. The military was kept under very strong control of his family member and the task of the military was not to suggest and make strategies, rather to just obey orders of the first family just the way it happens in Kingship. Qaddafi was very much against the ideas of political parties and parliaments. According to him, it was not the actual representation of the people of the state, as they don’t get 100 percent votes, they might just represent 51 % of people, which is unfair to the rest of 49%. This worked somehow well under his powerful wrist. However, it backfired after his removal and killing. There was no institution within Libya mature enough to unite the Libyan tribes and militias.
Tribalism itself is not a reason for the Libyan civil strife but the clientele relationship between different tribes and Qaddafi regime and then the role of these tribes in post-Qaddafi Libya played and is still playing a huge role in divided Libya. The tribes in eastern Libya, which complained about the partiality and inequity of the Qaddafi regime, joined the Haftar forces and supported the HoR. In other countries struck by the Arab uprising like Egypt and Tunisia, the state institutions were mature enough to get hold of the post-uprising matters. Nevertheless, in Libya tribes played a vital role during the uprising and in the post-Qaddafi era.
Oil reserves are also one of the reasons why Libya jumped to internal conflict in the post-Qaddafi era. Oil is majorly produced in the eastern part of the country and NOC being the main authorized body to deal with oil dealings. Qaddafi during his rule didn’t use oil much as to develop his country fellows, rather used the money more on his family and his Loyal tribes. However, after the removal of Qaddafi the oil industry was on track. The oil itself was not the main reason for the civil strife but it fueled the fire of the conflict. It’s a good resource for paying the militias and an upward jump is seen in the illegal export of Libyan oil.
Libya has, in the past, played a negative role in the region vis a via Israel. Other countries struck in the region with Arab spring either had peace with Israel or recognized them with full zeal. In such circumstances, Libya became unreliable for partnership in the Middle Eastern affairs and gained no support from Israel, the western powers or regional powers.