Libya's Tribal Challenge

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Tribal revenge could take hold in Libya.

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The Wall Street Journal highlights a potential challenge in a post-Gaddafi Libya:

The feud between Misrata and Tawergha offers a stark example of the challenges Libya will face in reconciling communities that found themselves on opposite sides of the conflict when Col. Gadhafi leaves power.

Misrata, Libya's third-largest city and its commercial hub, has been viewed with suspicion by Col. Gadhafi, who sought to promote minority groups like the Tawerghans and some Bedouin tribes in the area to counterbalance the might of the tightly knit white merchant families here.

Before the siege, nearly four-fifths of residents of Misrata's Ghoushi neighborhood were Tawergha natives. Now they are gone or in hiding, fearing revenge attacks by Misratans, amid reports of bounties for their capture.

The rebel leadership in the eastern city of Benghazi says it is working on a post-Gadhafi reconciliation plan. But details are fuzzy and rebel leaders often resort to platitudes when dismissing suggestions of discord, saying simply that "Libya is one tribe."

It would be grimly ironic (but not unexpected) if a war fought ostensibly to avert one humanitarian crisis gave rise to another, potentially more severe, catastrophe in its wake.

(AP Photo)

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