Foreigners 'could disrupt Libya's fragile peace' says MP


Click to follow

Tripoli is in a better state today than the capitals of Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo or Bosnia were when fighting ended there – but the fragile peace could be disrupted by the sudden influx of foreigners, according to the MP who has visited them all.

Rory Stewart, who was a coalition official in occupied Iraq in 2003 and is now MP for Penrith and the Border, was speaking on his return from a three-day, private visit to Libya.

"The Libyan revolution is still very fragile," said Mr Stewart. "The capacity for corruption is enormous, because so much was owned by the Gaddafi family. If there is a repeat of the Soviet Union collapse, with oligarchs taking over great sections of the economy, other groups will feel threatened and tempted to fight back.

"There is a high likelihood that there will be uncertainty. The key is not to get dragged in. The real strength of what is happening is that it feels so like a local phenomenon, and it would be really counter productive to bring in a lot of foreigners.

"The Libyans genuinely feel that this is their own revolution. They didn't feel that it's a product of foreign intervention. That means there is a clear prize to be won, a sense of euphoria and confidence.

"There is no feeling of being under foreign occupation.

"They feel that their revolution is something like what happened in Tunisia and Egypt."