In the final years of Moammar Gadhafi’s rule, tensions between the autocrat’s two most prominent sons embodied the key ideological question of how — and if — governance ought to be reformed. The ferocious rivalry contributed to the regime’s disjointed response to the 2011 uprisings — and helped bring about its end.
For one militia commander, a battlefield defeat was payback to the aspiring Libyan strongman Gen. Khalifa Haftar. But it also illustrates in stark clarity how the Middle East’s proxy wars and ideological rivalries have spilled across borders, ensnaring both the innocent and not so innocent.
Libya now has a unified national government that resulted from a peaceful transition of power and handover by the two rival governments. Two top U.N. envoys to Libya say they could have hardly imagined this development a year ago when they were serving in the United Nations.
Amb. Chris Stevens was one of the main reasons I took a job in the State Department. In 2011, I admired his enthusiasm for engagement in Libya during the revolution. That moment of fleeting optimism felt a lifetime away as I stood in a hangar at Joint Air Base Andrews, waiting for his body to arrive.