There’s no doubt that the NTC played a huge part in the turnaround of Libya which transformed it from a country that lacked any sort of freedom, to one that is slowly on its way to recovery. The fact that the nation experienced the first peaceful handover of a government in modern history immediately after the NTC’s era says everything you want to know about their success.
However, this was no easy feat. The before, during and after process of the NTC was plagued with problems – which is quite understandable when you consider the delicate issues that were being tackled.
In truth, one could write a whole dissertation on all of the problems that the NTC faced. However, we have condensed into some of the main issues, as we will now explore.
Unfortunately, the first problem occurred immediately after the formation of the organization. The NTC was officially formed on 27 February and on this date the spokesperson, Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, claimed that they would not be a provisional government. Additionally, there would be no contact with foreign governments and they did not want them to intervene.
Suffice to say, this was false. From the outset, the main members of the NTC considered it to be an interim government while the disruption in the country continued.
Anonymity of members
Initially, there were thirty three members who formed the NTC. However, it was very difficult for the NTC to become transparent regarding their structure, as they knew that these members had to be kept anonymous.
After all, while the NTC was leading most of the country, there were still portions of it that were under control of the previous regime. As such, some of the members still had family who resided in these regions, and revealing their names would have put the safety of such family members in jeopardy.
When the NTC initially formed, it seemed a foregone conclusion that they would receive the backing of the world. France recognized them as the sole representative of Libya almost immediately, but other countries were hesitant. This was mainly because there were still suspicions that rebels could infiltrate the organization and generally make it corrupt. In other words, despite the public intentions of the NTC, it was still hard for many countries to trust them.
From a financial viewpoint this was problematic. The NTC requested to receive frozen funds to attempt to restore normality, but for the same reasons as above these requests were denied. It meant that the rebuilding process became even more difficult.
In many ways, this next problem came because of the NTC’s actions. In May 2012, there was almost outrage because of the decision by the organization to publish Law 37. This was performed without any consultation with the people of Libya and contradicted all of the messages that had been portrayed about how the country was set for change.
Unfortunately, the law itself hardly did the NTC any favors either. It was effectively in place to curb free speech and while on first glance this was meant to hinder the advances of any Gaddafi loyalists that were still around, it still cast doubt on the future of free speech and Libya.
It is understood that the eventual intention was to remove this law once a permanent government was appointed. However, the fact that 66% of Libyans opposed the law says everything you need to know about its popularity.
Following on from the above points, few people will be surprised to hear that protests did occur against the NTC at one point. This occurred in mid-January 2012 and involved protesters ransacking the headquarters of the organization in Banghazi.
There were numerous reasons for the protests; many of which have already been touched upon. For example, protesters were not satisfied with the lack of transparency shown by the NTC, while many were still unhappy that former members of the Gaddafi regime had managed to be in place in the organization.
The chairman of the NTC was the target and while he was in the building at the time of the disturbance, he managed to exit out of the back. Elsewhere, another member of the NTC, Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, faced protests from students in the streets of Benghazi before his supporters rescued him.
Again, it’s further evidence that the NTC period was far from trouble-free and the organization did have a lot of issues to deal with – some of which brought on by themselves – before they started to restore peace to Libya.