Libya: Oil and the Discontents of Emerging Civil Society
Libya was established in 1951 as a federation with three provinces and has never fully settled as a nation-state. This chapter describle how, from 1951 up to the actual civil unrest post 2011, and throughout the Gaddafi era of 1969 to 2011, oil was from one hand a source of deeleopment and stability, and from the other hand the cause of internal conflict. The petroleum industry and its legal framework were built on the interaction among the country’s three provinces, foreign oil companies and foreign expertise. Under Gaddafi’s rule from 1969 to 2011, oil was his weapon in dealing with the Western world, which meant that it was diverted away from domestic use. Gaddafi enforced control over Libya’s oil resources through centralization and totalitarianism. Starting with the 2011 uprising, the country was wracked by violent conflict among the provinces, centred on the management of the country’s petroleum resource wealth. Since 2014, Libya has been divided into two parts, with two independent legislative and executive authorities—in Cyrenaica and in Tripolitania—still fighting for control over the oilfields and the national oil company. Thus, in Libya, rather than public debate between different views, there is geographical division and civil war.
KeywordsLibya Natural resources Oil Gas Petroleum governance Civil society Democracy Authoritarianism Civil war
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