After Stevens' Death, Libya’s New Government Can Show Its Resolve

Article Summary
The best response to the slaying of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens would be to ensure that the original goals of Libya’s revolution — freedom and dignity — are realized, Souad Altaif al-Fitoury writes, arguing that the first step toward achieving this is implementing security throughout the country.

During the recent attack on the US consulate in Benghazi four American diplomats were killed, including the US ambassador to Libya, who was a staunch supporter of the Libyan revolution. This clearly indicates that chaos and irrational behavior still prevail in Libya. Consequently, it is becoming more difficult to carefully plan for an exit from this transitional period.

The President of Libya's General National Congress, Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, was absolutely right to condemn the performance of Libya’s former interim government and parliament. He said that both the government and parliament “have left the country without any strong institutions,” referring mainly to the police and armed forces.

Magariaf’s explicit attack has entrusted the newly elected government with extraordinary tasks. The chaotic conditions that prevailed during the transitional phase should end, and the sooner the better. If this doesn’t happen, Libyans will remain stuck in this indefinite transitional period.

In the presence of a reliable national figure like current Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur, it is totally unacceptable to let the country plunge in further chaos. This chaos will likely destroy all of the ambitions that the Libyan revolution aimed to achieve.

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During a year and a half, Abushagur’s government will have to rise to difficult challenges in order to help the country get off to a good start. This start should pave the way for the establishment of a new state of law.

We deeply regret the loss of our close friend, the slain ambassador Chris Stevens, and the other American diplomats. These diplomats strongly supported the Libyan revolution and effectively contributed to the revolution’s success. The most important truth that we should never forget is that the best response to the Benghazi attack on the US consulate would be to help the Libyan revolution achieve its goals, which mainly focus on freedom and dignity.

However, the first challenge that the new Libyan government will face is not limited to security — as was theoretically conceived — but it also includes genuine efforts to help security institutions become an integral part of the future state of law.

To lay the foundation for a sound security apparatus, the Libyan government must improve work procedures at all security institutions and ensure such institutions observe the laws, rules and ethics implemented in any constitutional state.

This is a key component that will help the government succeed in its mission. Without such a component, the country will be locked in the current transitional phase until the government realizes that there is no way out of such chaotic situation without setting the groundwork for a new institutional system.

It is essential that various rebel factions are included in the army, police and security institutions to help ensure that they are a single organized force. This step will also help to define the characteristics of the country’s future, however, it is not enough.

Indeed, rebels across the country might feel somehow neglected. They realize that this revolution would have been impossible without their sacrifices and courage. This feeling puts further pressure on the new prime minister to succeed in his mission. In this context, the matter is not related to how much support the government extends to the rebels, but rather whether or not this support is sufficient and reliable.

Above all, the most decisive factor is not related to the government recruiting a growing number of rebels who participated in the revolution, but to the efficient means that can help integrate such forces into a sound legal and institutional framework.

Besides the security challenge, there are other more difficult challenges that await the new Libyan government.

Without a doubt the soaring rate of unemployment, the lack of public services and efficient communication means between public institutions will constitute additional challenges for Magariaf’s government. It is, therefore, crucial to look for new practical approaches to recruit young Libyans and find them suitable jobs. These approaches will help contain the dangerous repercussions of the prevailing chaotic situation and provide new efficient means so that the reconstruction projects have beneficial effects on the Libyan community.

We have to lay the foundation for a stable constitutional state and we should invest all available resources in the reconstruction of the country.

If the values of a constitutional state are implemented in parallel with reconstruction projects, the outcome will be absolutely magnificent.

Although Libya has enough resources to build a bridge to the moon, the Libyan government must find the appropriate methodologies to better invest such resources. This is definitely a difficult challenge for any government.

One thing is for sure under this new parliament: All government officials will have to assume their responsibilities to the full to succeed in executing the reconstruction project, a project that is worthy of such suffering.

This is the true meaning of democracy, according to which accountability and responsibility come first.

For us, the first step on the road toward a new Libya starts from here.

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Found in: us ambassador, us, libyan revolution, libya, benghazi
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