Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 08/2014

Security Challenges to Libya's Quest for Democracy

Karim Mezran, Fadel Lamen

September 2012

Atlantic Council


Security challenges threaten to undermine Libya’s political transition as well as its relations with other countries, according to a new issue brief released by the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council.

The September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, resulting in the death of four American diplomats, makes more urgent the report’s identification of serious internal security deficiencies. Problems include the resurgence of Qaddafi loyalists seeking to undermine any progress made in the transition; tribal and inter-militia clashes resulting in violent competition over territory, power and influence; and weak and disjointed national security forces with an unclear hierarchy or authority. All of these challenges, as well as the proliferation of weapons into neighboring countries, create an ideal environment for al-Qaeda forces and threaten to instigate regional instability.