Gaddafi’s initial popularity developed from his admiration of Nasser of Egypt. Dissent arose from Gaddafi’s inability to replicate Nasser’s Egypt and instead resemble Hussein’s Iraq and al-Assad’s Syria. The cult of personality model and anti-imperialist sentiment injected into Libyan politics contributed to Gaddafi’s illusion of a popular and respected leadership while also unifying Libyans behind a common cause. Gaddafi further gained approval through his grandiose public works projects, including hospitals and schools, funded by oil revenue. He attempted to coalesce the Libyan population under an Arab national identity by nationalizing Western business interests, including Libya’s notable oil industry, and forcefully opposing the legitimacy of Israel (Anderson, 2016). Nevertheless, these endeavors were not enough to overcome tribal sectarianism and brutal oppressions by Gaddafi’s security forces. Moreover, the primarily Sunni Arab population did not provide sufficient motive for consolidation; semi-autonomous city-states formed from tribes throughout Libya. Inability to centralize under ...
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...uslim Brotherhood-associated candidates and tribal leaders in Misurata (Cook, 2016). Thus, the Islamist parliament in Tripoli and House of Representative in Tobruk maintained the discord within the Libyan government.
To exacerbate economic pressures, the interim government in Tripoli instituted stipend payments to any person who had joined the fight against Gaddafi. Thousands of Libyan citizens- 250,000 of which there were 20,000 at most- claimed they qualified for compensation (Anderson, 2016). With a poverty-stricken population whose allegiance was pledged to tribes, a central government was ill-fated. Tribal militias remained heavily armed from the 2011 uprisings and were then given incentive to remain independent and use force to acquire the funds they needed to maintain power. Tribal territory wars were subsidized by the government they were trying to subvert.
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