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The external dimension of Libya's troubled transition: the international community and ‘democratic knowledge’ transfer

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What are the sources of democratic knowledge in a context devoid of relevant experience and institutions? More than other Arab Spring states, Libya lacked the ingredients for successful democratisation. Yet, Libya's Arab Spring uprising was also unique in that external actors, Western and Arab, supported it through military intervention. Why was the international community's successful intervention to protect civilians and help overthrow the Qadhafi regime not translated into creating the conditions for stability, security, and the construction of democratic institutions after that regime fell? This article analyses the international dimension of Libya's transition and argues that the potential for external actors to be effective sources of democratic knowledge in post-Qadhafi Libya was severely constrained from the outset by the absence of leverage and linkages, two key factors highlighted in research on the international dimension of democratisation.

Keywords: Arab spring; Libya; democratic knowledge; democratisation; external factors

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Politics and International Relations, Pomona College, Claremont, CA, USA

Publication date: October 20, 2015


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