By Oussama Elbaroudi, Rahul Venkit
BRUSSELS Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- First toppled, now killed. The death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi marks a new departure for Libya.
The end of Gaddafi, however symbolic, paves the path for the rebuilding of the nation. However, the road to the country's future is anything but rosy. There are several political minefields that will need to be avoided.
All eyes are on Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC). It had earlier promised that a new government would be constituted once the country got rid of its former leader.
Experts raise two main points. Firstly, will the NTC try and stall the formation of a new government further? And secondly, will the council be able to provide its people with a stable government representing the diverse, all too often arguing, factions of the country?
"Dead or alive, Gaddafi belongs to the Libya's past. Now the NTC will probably face several challenges to succeed in uniting the Libyan people," said researcher Didier Billion from IRIS.
"There are huge internal divisions, so it will be hard for them to unite all the different lines within their organization," he added.
Observers says cracks are already showing within the top brass of the NTC. Just days ago, its second-in-command Mahmoud Jibril threatened to resign citing ideological differences.
Despite gaining swift recognition by the international community, the council had a hard time gaining a national mandate around razor-edged political lines, say experts. Furthermore, fundamental problems persist which can lead to trouble in the future.
"Tensions may occur in the short and middle-term as the NTC cannot pretend to have sovereignty on the whole territory," said Barah Mikail, researcher at the Madrid-based think-tank IFRE.
Despite the apparent lack of agreement within the NTC about a future direction for the country, many feel the international community has little choice but to stand by the interim government.
A joint statement by European Union presidents Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy said Libya could now "turn a page in its history and embrace a new democratic future".
"We call on the NTC to pursue a broad-based reconciliation process which reaches out to all Libyans and enables a democratic, peaceful and transparent transition in the country," it added.
A lot is at stake for Europe in Libya, an important security concern and transit point for potential migrants to the continent. Hence, if Libya is not successful in forming a strong government and doing so relatively quickly, the EU will have no choice but to exert more pressure on the NTC to deliver, feel commentators.
On the other hand, embracing Libya may have many rewards for Europe, politically and economically. "France and the UK are now vindicated for their risky strategy of pushing for a NATO campaign in Libya," said Rym Ayadi from the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies.
"This means European countries that supported the NTC in its early stages may receive huge economic benefits during the reconstruction of the nation's infrastructure," she added.
On Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama said he hoped NATO's campaign in Libya would soon wind down following Gaddafi's death. The west's main worry, however, would be a failed NTC that would force NATO to remain in Libya for a prolonged period.
"If the NTC does not prove to be credible and NATO forces overstay their welcome in Libya, the worst case scenario would be Libya becoming the next Iraq," said IFRE's Barah Mikail.
Special Report: Foreign Military Intervention in Libya