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Reconstruction

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I have thoughts on the reconstruction of the Libyan armed forces:

While there is a temptation to suggest that the new Libyan government should be given as much space as possible to rebuild the Libyan armed forces, in fact Western security assistance is imperative. Libya cannot develop the capabilities it needs in the timeframe available all by itself. But Western assistance for Libya will also at times be a double-edged sword for Tripoli. Given NATO’s role in Gadhafi’s ouster, it is likely that the alliance will prioritize its interests when it comes to facilitating Libya’s military reconstruction. This could play out both in terms of contracts and in terms of general focus. Libya’s defense profile might ideally call for the purchase of low-cost Russian or Chinese equipment, but the relationship with NATO could effectively force the acquisition of higher-cost Western weapons systems. Similarly, it seems unlikely that a Libya influenced by NATO will adopt a defense profile at odds with NATO’s interests. For example, Libya’s new air defense network probably won’t be geared toward resisting air attacks from the Mediterranean. Although engagement with the international military community is important, Libya will have to take considerable care to ensure that its armed forces identify first and foremost with the Libyan people, and remain loyal to the Libyan government.

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