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The recent coup attempt in Libya, led by General Khalifa Haftar, has finally pierced the illusion that the country's dysfunctional central government, whose power is limited to the capital, Tripoli, can rule effectively.Haftar believes that the key to solving Libya's myriad crises lies in establishing a strong national army that would be capable of subduing the Islamists who are destabilizing the country. Given that Gadhafi ruled Libya for more than four decades, his is a legacy that cannot simply be ignored. In its two years in power, the parliament, which is known as the General National Congress, has empowered nonstate actors, with ministries bypassing the army to task militias with security operations.If Libya is to escape its current predicament, its leaders must transform the governance structures that Gadhafi built to create a fair and credible system based on the rule of law.At the same time, Libya's leaders must recognize and build upon the few positive aspects of Gadhafism. Gadhafi thus took the first step – intentional or not – toward creating a modern nation-state. The most important positive component of Gadhafi's legacy, however, was the partial emancipation of women.
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