Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Political atmosphere far from stable

Despite the apparent low-key military action, the political atmosphere is far from stable. Apart from the deep cleavages between the rebels and the Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's regime, there are also cross currents of dissent and criticism by supporters of both sides in the war.

The next stage to be expected is an attack by the rebels in Tripolitania, with specific battles likely for Sirte, Zliten and Tarhuna. Should these be successful, it is probable that the next hurdle will be the establishment of an acceptable constitution which itself will be a difficult time as there is no agreement on leadership, on the role of the president or the alignment of policies. It is, therefore, a very unsure and unstable situation.

Foreign investors should not underestimate the unreliability of individuals and institutions at this critical stage of the would-be revolution.

In recent months, there has been an absence of law and order, and of clear statements concerning the policies of any incoming government. The strength of the Islamists cannot be underestimated. An Islamic-orientated constitution would put co-operation with foreign interests as a low priority, while the emergence of a radical reforming group could result in a very dynamic, if chaotic, surge in development excluding foreign participation.

The security of individuals travelling in Libya is difficult to guarantee as the regional authorities have only weak control over the police and other arms of government. It will take some time before the financial situation is calmed and thus payments abroad become routine. The British Foreign Office continues to advise no travel to Libya.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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