Libya, the oil rich desert nation has had a myriad of experiences. Few countries have had the opportunity to familiarize with such varying forms of governance. From the Italian supplanted Ottoman Turks in 1911 to UN administration in 1943 and subsequent independence in 1951, Libya was the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations.
All seemed merry for the 17th territorially largest nation in the world until the discovery of oil in 1959 and unprecedented military coup by a young Lieutenant, Muammar Gaddafi in 1969. The tumultuous foreign policy, implementation of Jamahiriya, establishment of a ‘socialist’ state and eventual rise of democracy had been conducted amidst continuous attention, if not involvement of world powers.
The state of Libya as we know today arose out of the ‘authoritarian socialism’ practised by its erstwhile dictator. Suppressing voices of discontent and an evidently byzantine approach towards anti-state players had been of persistent concern for the world. Gaddafi was famed as the eccentric ruler of Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, supplemented by a small population and hence the highest nominal per capita GDP in Africa.
Realising that world community had antagonist opinions to his rule, Muammar spent lavishly on arming the desert nation. As of 2005, 3.9% of the then $44 billion GDP was spent on purchasing chemical and ballistic weaponry, pursuing nuclear power and maintaining the 1,775,078 male and 1,714,194 female military. Libya’s GDP went on to a whopping $93.1677 billion in 2008 after Libya acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention (effective February 5, 2004) and ‘destroyed’ its chemical munitions later that year.
It is unclear whether the Libyan Jamahiriya state acceded to what it covenanted as stockpiles of Sulphur Mustard and Yellow cake, both chemicals of capable to producing weapons of mass destruction were discovered by rebel forces within weeks of toppling the Gaddafi regime.
A ray of hope for the nation which imports about 75% of its food is the National Transitional Council’s pledge to develop Libya into a democratic, pluralist state. The nascent democracy in Libya has been successful in generating much positive opinion from world powers and is hinting an altered foreign policy.
For the United States of America led ‘West’, a shift in the pattern of governance accompanied by emergence of liberal political parties in the region has been considered a success. The very notion of promising a ‘democratic, pluralist state’ is enough to convince the world community to form a positive opinion.
An answer to the question of Libya has been imperative for the sustenance of peace in the Middle East. Twesh Mishra believes that despite the capricious history of Libya, a ray of hope has emerged. Written for IHMUN Review during International Hindu Model United Nations Conference 2012.