Libya – Your Questions Answered!

Since Colonel Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011 Libya has been subject to instability and lawlessness. But what is happening now and why is Libya lawless now?

Who is in control of Libya?

This is the issue. At the moment nobody is in control of Libya. Approximately 1700 armed groups, with a variety of different goals, are in combat in Libya at the moment. These groups are mostly looking for money and power, but at the moment the country is in total chaos with all the conflict between these groups.

Were these groups on the same side?

During Gaddafi’s era the groups were united by their hatred of Gaddafi, however that was it. The groups all have slightly differing interests, and no single group ever led the way in opposing Gaddafi. The groups have little knowledge of how politics works and how the rule of law operates, which has led to further political troubles since 2011. This is demonstrated by the fact that there has been 5 different governments in Libya in the past 4 years.


Is any help outside Libya provided?

There is some help provided, but this is minimal. The US government said they would help Libya retrieve any stolen weapons from the Gaddafi era, but not much more than that. Despite this, many of the stolen weapons have not been recovered and most of them have ended up in the hands of these armed groups throughout the country today.

Other African countries are fearful over where these stolen weapons will end up. Many people believe that the stolen weapons could deepen the instability in countries such as Mali and Niger, as well as in Sinai, Gaza and even Syria.


There have been a number of attacks on foreigners, including a number of attacks on diplomats (an official representing a country abroad). This includes the killing of the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi. Furthermore, western oil firms were seized by many groups causing a decline in the global oil market. 

Which group is the most dangerous?

Ansar al-Sharia is potentially the most dangerous armed group in Libya, as it is blamed for the death of US ambassador Christopher Stevens and for forming relations with a number of Islamist groups. Colonel Khalifa Haftar also has a powerful militia (armed group), and has a goal of defeating Ansar al-Sharia.

The people of Libya

The troubles in Libya lead many to live in fear, and there is little evidence that change will happen. The government is being controlled by these armed groups, but it is hoped (by the government) that some groups will combine to form a sort of national army for the country to stop the continuance of instability and lawlessness.

What do you think is the solution? How can the government stop these armed forces?

Thanks for reading and please do share,

Digestible Politics

8 comments on “Libya – Your Questions Answered!

  1. sandradan1 says:

    Hi, thanks for finding and following my Spanish blog! SD

  2. clisawork says:

    To say something like, ” The groups have little knowledge of how politics works and how the rule of law operates” strikes me as off, and I can’t use the words I want to use in this forum. I am holding back here, but who did you consult for that opinion? Have you considered at all the role of the US in the destabilization of Libya in 2011 ( The destruction of infrastrucature, combined with the lack of any long term support to rebuild industries and infrustractures makes any government look like they are tilting at windmills. If you start with nothing and face hordes of armed militias, and you have nothing to offer then how can you be seen as a legitimate goverment? Your analysis seems shallow, could you please do a little more research and rewrite this, because I want to know what is going on in Libya. Also, please site your sources – this is all pointless unless you tell us where your information comes from. Even I can go to and write a few paragraphs. And why are you asking us what we think? Are you trying to find someone who actually knows what is happening in Libya to fill in the obvious holes in your knowledge? You should have done that before you wrote this.

    • I think you are missing the point of the blog. This is meant to be a very basic overview of what is happening in Libya at the moment, and not an in depth analysis, which is far too complicated.

      You need to understand that whilst you may know a lot about politics there are many others who know very little and will appreciate the post.

      If you want in depth writing with lots of links to other sources then this is not the blog for you. As I have written on my about page, this is a blog for people who want to be informed about politics in a ‘digestible’ way.


      • clisawork says:

        You should still site you sources – people need to know which end of you body you are pulling your “facts”. Also generalizing that a group of people don’t know how to govern or don’t know about the rule of law simply because they happen to be fighting a war is more than rude unless you have a source to back that up.

  3. charlypriest says:

    Solution to Libya? None.

    If there could have been a chance for the people of Libya that we believed where fighting for a democracy, democracy style in the middle east that is. The President should have acted at the beginning of the insurrection, by giving them arms, food, military advisors, e.t.c. All while undercover that is. First off the CIA should have been send in there to asses the situation and determine if these where people with democratic ideas or not. Now is too late in the game. Terrorist groups have infiltrated and are proxies of Iran. That´s what happens when you have a president that doesn´t believe in projecting American power in the world, leading from the back(I´m still trying to get my head around that, how do you lead from the back is beyond my reasoning) and indecisive, always apologising for America.

    And in some instances, most of them, like it or not, it´s in the U.S interest to keep dictators in power. Specially in the middle east now. Why? They can be brutal, but they will prevent the rise of future terrorist to establish camp there. And if they don´t they should be taken care of in one way or the other. By sanctions or credible threat of military force, undercover operations.

    Each country in the middle east is different, but most of them since they do have the common denominator which is dictators, in the world we live in better to leave them in place most of them, than to get them out of power and leave a vacuum for terrorist to come in and take control or destabilise a young “democracy” middle east style.

    • clisawork says:

      Libya’s in North Africa – Not the Middle East. Perhaps the people there should vote before we send in the CIA “advisors”. It worked so well in Korea, Vietnam, Central America (and other places I’m sure I’m missing). Maybe look at a map next time.

      • charlypriest says:

        They´re all sort of the same, just a bunch of crazy nuts.
        Actually I´d just drop the A-Bomb nicknamed “Cool boy” Just carpet bomb the whole region. Every body happy happy like a hyppo.

        But thank´s for the tip. I´ll take out the map….to much work.

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