Rocky Path Ahead for Free Libya’s Capital of Benghazi

Jubilation at Gadhafi's Ouster, But Situation Far From Stabilized

The early response out of Benghazi after the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime was one of unrestrained jubilation, and a can-do attitude quickly got services back up and running, with people ready to embrace a new, Free Libya.

The jubilation is still there, but increasingly it is tempered by a realization that East Libya has a lot to do after 42 years under Gadhafi rule (not the least of which is preparing a defensive corridor against the regime’s troops, which still control the west), and that stability is still a goal.

Indeed a number of people are expressing concern as shops that briefly reopened in the wake of Gadhafi’s ouster close back down and as banks run out of physical currency. Stuck in what may be the start of a civil war with Gadhafian Libya, the new Free Libya has the humanitarian problems of any warzone, and they are mounting.

There is some hope, of course: East Libya has resumed some oil exports, albeit at a much lower rate than pre-revolution as many of the foreign workers have fled. The east is the oil-rich part of Libya, and any economic revitalization will undoubtedly flow from that industry getting back on its feet. It may not always be easy, but the happiness still evident in the streets of Benghazi suggests that for most this revolution was very much “worth it.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.