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“Having oil doesn’t always makes things easier; it can actually make democratization more difficult”

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Despite “scant media coverage, because the current new focus is Syria”, Marc Marginedas considers the elections in Libya, where secular political forces have been established, a democratic success for a country that less than two years ago ousted Gaddafi. However, the El Periódico journalist sees the militia that fought against the dictator as one of the biggest problems for present-day Libya. “One of its foremost challenges now is to put an end to the militias and start a judicious process of disarmament”, as some of these militia are committing all sorts of abuses, as reported by Amnesty International. Marginedas does not think that the lives of the Libyan people have changed since the Arab Spring, “because very little time has passed, and Libya is still a tribal society, which hampers the democratization process”. Marginedas highlights the fact that, even though there are elections, when members of a tribe come to power, they tend to favour their own tribe over others. “This is a distinguishing feature of Libyan society”, he explains. Finally, Marginedas does not think that having oil necessarily helps democratic transition; it could be another Iraq, where operations were privatized and the lion’s share went to the usual parties. “Having oil doesn’t always makes things easier; it can actually make democratization more difficult”, he concludes.

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Marc Marginedas >

El Periódico journalist
Marc Marginedas is a journalist and expert in international relations. For over 15 years he has covered conflicts in the Islamic world and has been special envoy for El Periódico in Algeria, Syria, Chechnya, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia and Libya. Previously he was a correspondent in Moscow and in Algiers and Rabat. He is the author of Periodismo en el campo de batalla. Quince años tras el rastro de la yihad about his experience as a war journalist.