GENEVA – As post-revolution Libya looks ahead, Iraq looms as a perilous example. After 42 years of dictatorship, Libya, like Iraq in 2003 after the fall of Saddam Hussein, needs more than wishful thinking to become a vibrant democracy. It needs organized state-building in Tripoli – and realistic policymaking in Western capitals.
Successful transitions depend from the start on factors that are still crucially missing in Libya – a relatively cohesive leadership, an active civil society, and national unity. Without these, Libya will most likely fail to find its footing and, much like post-Saddam Iraq, suffer from persistent political division and volatile civil disorder, in addition to a multifaceted array of geopolitical pressures.