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Professor Jacob Mundy on militia politics in Libya

By Barbara Brooks on September 13, 2012
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Prof. Jacob Mundy in Zintan, Libya

Jacob Mundy, assistant professor of peace and conflict studies at Colgate, called the Sept. 11 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi and the resulting death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens a “rude wake-up call to the coalition of states that was too-quick to say ‘mission accomplished’ following their humanitarian intervention last year.”

Mundy spent the summer in Libya researching the impact of NATO’s intervention there, and whether anti-Qaddafi rebellion forces had been engaged in war crimes while accepting NATO assistance.

Mundy accuses the international media of “gross negligence” for its lack of critical coverage of the rebellion’s post-conflict abuses, and its failure to take an interest in the “dangerous politics of revolutionary martyrdom” taking shape there.

“While attacks on Western targets have been witnessed for several months in Libya, they have been largely ignored in the media,” he said. “It’s sad that it takes such a high- profile killing to wake up the press from its stupor.”

Mundy recently wrote about Militia Politics in Libya’s National Elections for the Middle East channel of ForeignPolicy.com.

“The reconstruction debate is actually a coded language for a far more important political debate regarding the forces restructuring power relations in Libya today,” he wrote.

“Power is now heavily determined by three factors: the size and reach of each area’s militias, each militias’ role in the revolution, and each area’s economic independence.”

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