The Arab Spring: Why Libya is different

Rebels and their supporters celebrate around the iconic statue of a golden fist crushing a US military bomber outside Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's heavily damaged Bab al-Azizya compound in the centre of Tripoli.

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Col. Muammar Gaddafi appeared on television in Libya encouraging his followers to fight, but the rebels seem to have the upper hand. And they'll soon need to create a new government.

Jo Ford joins us now. He's a senior analyst with Oxford Analytica. Good morning, Jo.

Jo Ford: Good morning.

Vanek-Smith: So, Jo, it seems as if a rebel victory is fairly close at hand. What are some of the first steps a new government would have to take?

Ford: I think the first point to remember is the limited utility of making comparisons from other places, whether they be Iraq, Afghanistan, or other countries that have been through transition. But it is possible to draw broader lessons from these sorts of things. They generally relate to issues around security reform and integrating opposing forces into a national police and army; transitional justice issues, and how one deals with those; the economy and providing some sort of momentum in bread-and-butter terms to people.

Vanek-Smith: As you mentioned, we've seen a lot of countries go through the "Arab Spring." Obviously all very different countries -- but are there any models among those that might work for Libya, or parts of those situations that are parallel to Libya's situation?

Ford: Well there's been a lot of talk comparing the Libya situation with Iraq. One of the things that's very different about the Libya and Iraq situation is that the transitional, provisional authority in Iraq was a U.S. administration, whereas the Transitional National Council is composed of Libyans themselves. So legitimacy and effectiveness are inter-linked issues when it comes to these sorts of transitions.

Vanek-Smith: Well one of the tasks of a new government obviously would be building up a strong, functioning economy. That requires things like a strong banking system, tax collection, things like that. How ready is a country like Libya to sustain those elements?

Ford: Libya's transition is taking place at a time when Europe, which is just across the meditteranean, is not necessarily in a very good place to help out. So the level of dispair that might usually accompany a post-conflict transition is more really about the macro, global environment than Libya's own potential, which is still relatively good.

Vanek-Smith: Jo Ford is a senior analyst at Oxford Analytica. Jo, thank you.

Ford: Thank you very much, Stacey.

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