Mahmoud Jibril is the leader of Libya’s National Transitional Council, the official name adopted by the group of Libyans who have nearly overthrown Muammar Ghaddafi’s government. He has been educated in Egypt and the United States and represents an interesting paradox. His connections with both the West and the Arab world have given him the ability to work closely with partners in both regions with the result that countries as diverse as France, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have officially recognized the NTC as the governing body in Libya.
Mr. Jibril also worked in the very government his movement has overthrown. He was the head of the National Economic Development Board from 2007 until the fall of the Ghaddafi regime. As head of the NEDB, Mr. Jibril lead efforts to privatize many of Libya’s industries and to liberalize the overall economic structure of Libya. through his position at the NEDB, Mr. Jibril worked closely with the United Nations Development Programme in an effort to spur and sustain economic growth and development in Libya.
Now that the NTC seems poised to take over the halls of government in Libya, it remains to be seen what kind of leaders they will be. There have already been reports that the armed rebels are filling in the peace-keeping roles abandoned by Ghaddafi forces and that they are doing a rather admirable job. The rebels may be filled with joyous exuberance, but it seems that most of the rest of Libya too is filled with a sort of cautious optimism. Let’s hope that the people of Libya can realize true self-determinaiton and self-rule and can create a model for the world.
*Author’s Note: While I respect the fact that, geographically Libya is traditionally considered to be part of Africa, by custom, tradition, religion, lifestyle, and societal norms, the Libyan people share a great deal in common with the people of Southwest Asia.