The Libyan conflict pits the supporters of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, on one side and the anti-Gaddafi forces backed by the international community. It began as peaceful protests that later degenerated into a rebellion after use of excessive force on the protesters by the supporters of the government opposed to the revolution. Both sides of the Libyan conflict struggle to gain control of the country’s leadership.
What began as peaceful protests against the autocratic regime, degenerated into a full-blown conflict that has even attracted involvement from the international community. The perception of the citizens that the regime is oppressive and dictatorial encouraged the mass protests. The pro-government forces on the other hand are opposed to the perceived involvement of the international community and the Western countries to impose regime change in their country.
Parties in the Libyan Conflict
The conflict started with low-level protests against the government, which retaliated with violence against its citizens. The protesters gradually gained support even from within the “pro-Gaddafi community leading to the establishment of the Transition National Council based in Benghazi” (Cimmino, 2011).
The main interest of staging the revolt was to topple the oppressive regime and establish a democratic rule. The response of the Libyan leader and his supporters opposed to this revolt involved use of excessive force to quell the violence. However, the protesters have gradually continued to gain support from the citizens and the international community. The international community’s involvement is to protect the civilians and establish a peaceful environment to settle the conflict.
The incompatible goals in this conflict lie in the opposition to Gaddafi’s oppressive rule. The government’s counteroffensive response characterized by heavy use of military weapons and threats by the pro-government forces against the rebels show the government’s determination to remain in power moreover; the government also censored communication media including the social media for fuelling the conflict. The protesters want to end the oppressive and corrupt regime that is accused of infringement of human rights.
The conflict was fueled by poor economic theories coupled with corruption and tribalism, which have contributed to low living standards of the citizens despite the country’s rich oil reserves.
The conflict underwent an escalatory spiral from a peaceful protest to violent conflict attracting the involvement of the international community (Folger, Poole, & Stutman, 1997, p.67). Initially, most Libyans manifested the avoidance cycle, as they feared the conflicts would turn out to be costly. However, after the government’s violent response to protests, many joined forces with the rebels.
According to the Lens model, the protesters perceive the Gaddafi’s rule as oppressive and corrupt and ought to be replaced with a democratic leadership (Dana, 2001, p.123). On the other hand, the Gaddafi leadership perceives the protesters as motivated by the West and thus resists any attempt to topple him from power. The conflict spread starting from the Western cities involving Libyan citizens of all cultures and of both gender.
In a conflict, various parties are influenced to participate by taking sides based on the current perceptions of the issues past or present. The parties involved in a conflict tend to respond based on their perceptions of the situation.
In Libya, the conflict involves the government forces and the anti-government rebels who want to topple the regime based on their perception of the regime as corrupt and oppressive. The Lens model facilitates an objective view to a conflict by both of the involved parties in order to arrive at peaceful agreement.
Cimmino, R. (2011). North Africa Revolution Series: Libya. 30/03/2011. Retrieved from
Dana, D. (2001). Strategy of Conflict Resolution. New York: McGraw Hill.
Folger, P., Poole, S., & Stutman, K. (2001). Working Through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups, and Organizations. New York: Addison Wesley Longman Press.