Voice of America quotes Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Karim Mezran on Libya’s fractured society three years after the ouster of former President Moammar Gadhafi: 

It is accurate,” says Karim Mezran, a Libyan American who travels to Libya as senior fellow for the Rafiq Hariri Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. Mezran says, “… if you were somebody who left Gadhafi after 2011, or in the middle of the war, you are less believable than if you were in the position before or right away since February 2011.”


Mezran says the conflict is marked by many competing narratives. “One is the narrative unleashed by General Haftar, who sees all the nationalist, patriotic allegiances fighting against the Islamists. So he lumped together all of the groups of Ansar al-Shariah, February 17, the Muslim Brotherhood, all these militias in one field by saying they are all backward, radical Islamic terrorists and we are going to fight against them.”

On the other side, Mezran says Islamists and fighters from Misrati of the Libya Dawn coalition say the struggle is with those who fought against Gadhafi — those who paid a high price in the revolution and now fight to prevent the return of Gadhafi supporters to power.

The inability of political parties to engage in compromise – and even the ineffectiveness of public services – is also a product of the patronage system with which for decades Gadhafi ran Libya, Mezran says.

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