The importance of radical ideology in the Sahel and Maghreb stems from its instrumental value and normative commitments. For rebel leaders, radical ideology helps their groups recruit and stand out from the rest of the pack.
Without a firm constitutional basis, early elections in Libya would not only produce a government whose legitimacy is contested even more widely, but also leave the door open for another strongman to rise to power.
It has long been an axiom among the rulers of each Maghrebi country to brandish their rhetorical commitment to regional integration while often-shamelessly suffocating the principles and prospects of unity.
Europe remains at fault for both failing to rebuild Libya following its 2011 intervention, and for increasingly relying on rights-abusing militias for its coast guard and migrant interdiction responsibilities.
Absent effective institutions, Libya has struggled and devolved into civil war since the fall of Qaddafi. But while the country has dropped off Western radars since the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, the story of Libya is far from finished.
Meddeb is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, where his research focuses on economic reform as well as the political economy of conflicts and border insecurity across the Middle East and North Africa.