Divided We Stand: Libya's Enduring Conflicts
"After the 20 August 2011 fall of Tripoli and in the wake of the 23 October formal end of hostilities, communal conflicts broke out across Libya. Some grew directly out of the 2011 conflict and activities of the newly formed revolutionary brigades to which it had given rise; others stemmed from longer-term, pent-up rivalries among communities, towns and neighbours that Colonel Qadhafi’s divide-and-conquer tactics had manipulated and fuelled over the course of his 42 years in power. None derailed the country’s first post-Qadhafi elections on 7 July 2012. Still, the state’s weak and fragmentary nature – and notably the collapse of the former regime’s army and police force– have left local communities largely responsible for their own defence, security and peacekeeping. The burden of defence and security fell largely on the revolutionary brigades, which had coalesced into large coalitions parallel to the dilapidated police and army. Armed groups of uncertain allegiance filled the security vacuum, some intent on revenge for past misdeeds, others on seizing the opportunity to promote local interests. The government tried to marshal those forces, focusing at first on those that accepted the authority of the National Transitional Council (NTC). The interior ministry enrolled some into a Supreme Security Committee [SSC] to act as armed police units; the army called on others to support it in imposing ceasefires on warring communities, acting essentially as rapid-reaction auxiliary forces."