As part of the "Arab Spring," Libya's 2011 uprising was portrayed as initially peaceful and secular, which is why the Qaddafi regime's forceful response was condemned internationally and gave rise quickly to a NATO-led military intervention. A deeper inquiry, however, reveals that the initial uprising was neither peaceful nor secular, which has important implications for news reporting, intelligence gathering, national security policymaking, and humanitarian intervention. This study relies on both primary and secondary sources -- in English, French, and Arabic -- including contemporaneous videos and retrospective interviews with Libyan revolutionaries.
Alan J. Kuperman is Associate Professor, and chair of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Global Policy Studies program, at the LBJ School of Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, where he is also coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project. He received his Ph.D. in Political science (2002) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.