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Jamsheed Choksy

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, August 23, 2011

IU expert available to discuss developments in Libya and possible aftermath

Aug. 23, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Libyan rebels continue to battle to gain control of the capitol, Tripoli, while longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi and two of his sons continue to express that they won't relinquish their authority. An expert from Indiana University's College of Arts and Sciences can offer his perspectives and is available to speak with reporters.

Jamsheed Choksy

Photo by Aaron Bernstein

Jamsheed Choksy

Print-Quality Photo

Jamsheed K. Choksy, professor of Central Eurasian, international and Islamic studies and former director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at Indiana University, says that while Gaddafi's 42-year reign of megalomaniacal tyranny is at hand, the future is uncertain.

"What lies ahead for Libya as a nation and for foreign powers that paved the way for Gaddafi's ouster remains far from certain," Choksy said. "Key to the future of a viable Libya will be law, stabilization and reconstruction so that civil society can be re-established swiftly.

"Hopes for Libya's future are pinned on the National Transitional Council (NTC), which has concluded it needs at least 18 to 24 months to transition from autocratic rule to democracy. But time will not be on the NTC's side. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, hopes fueled by an initial blossoming of freedom can quickly wither under the realities of rising poverty and bureaucratic gridlock," he said.

"Many NTC members have no experience in national governance, a problem which will compound their disconnection from Libyan society owing to decades in exile. Moreover the NTC is drawn predominantly from eastern Libyan circles and relies on an array of regional warlords to maintain authority," Choksy added. "Not surprisingly, they speak in partisan fashion about divvying up the land's mineral riches among domestic and overseas supporters. So ultimately, the NTC is a self-appointed body which may not be able to hold itself together -- let alone lead the Libyan people to representational self-governance.

"The West did not hesitate to extend the doctrine of 'Responsibility To Protect' to Libya's population. If the rebels' National Transitional Council fails to restore law and rebuild Libya in timely and effective manners, the United States and the EU may feel compelled to pour resources into that North African nation for stabilization and reconstruction at a time when growing numbers of Americans and Europeans are going broke."

Choksy noted that the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Transition Initiatives already have begun gearing up for civil society rebuilding in Libya. Foreign contractors will require protection, increasing the likelihood that U.S. troops will be journeying "to the shores of Tripoli."

Choksy is also a member of the National Council on the Humanities at the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities. He can be reached 812-855-8643 (o) or 317-294-5232 (m). Both lines have voice mail. He can also be contacted at