Editor's Note: If you are looking for insightful analysis with a historical perspective as well as a window to what the future may hold for a post-Gadhafi Libya, we recommend the following excellent summary by Scott Stewart for STRATFOR.
As the experiences of recent years in Iraq and Afghanistan have vividly illustrated, it is far easier to depose a regime than it is to govern a country. It has also proved to be very difficult to build a stable government from the remnants of a long-established dictatorial regime.
History is replete with examples of coalition fronts that united to overthrow an oppressive regime but then splintered and fell into internal fighting once the regime they fought against was toppled. In some cases, the power struggle resulted in a civil war more brutal than the one that brought down the regime. In other cases, this factional strife resulted in anarchy that lasted for years as the iron fist that kept ethnic and sectarian tensions in check was suddenly removed, allowing those issues to re-emerge.
As Libya enters this critical juncture and the National Transitional Council (NTC) transitions from breaking things to building things and running a country, there will be important fault lines to watch in order to envision what Libya will become.