NATO planes aren’t dropping bombs on Libya anymore and Moammar Gadhafi, the infamously eccentric and cruel long-time dictator of the North African country, is dead and buried like a stray dog in an unmarked desert grave. But Libya’s no paradise now that it’s ruled—mostly—by the National Transitional Council, the political home of former anti-Gadhafi rebels. The group Médicins Sans Frontières raised serious concerns on Thursday when it pulled out of a Misrata prison, saying they’d been asked to treat prisoners showing clear signs of torture. Amnesty International, meanwhile, released a report about how detainees of the NTC government had recently died in custody, suggesting they had been brutally interrogated.
This news has brought Libya back from the periphery of attention in the Western media — at least briefly. In an editorial published this week, the Guardian lamented “that Libyans continue to live with the legacy of the old regime — weak or absent state institutions, no political parties or civil society institutions.”
The piece goes on to point out that, as Libyans struggle for direction and stability in the post-Gadhafi era, the Western nations that helped depose him bear a measure of responsibility in how the country gets on without him. As it stands now, Libya is by no means unified. On Monday, forces loyal to the previous regime freed Gadhafi officials from prison and captured the town of Bani Walid, 200 km southeast of Tripoli, Libya’s capital. In an unsettling display, they raised Gadhafi’s green flag of Libya over Bani Walid. Now, the forces of the new regime are gathering in a bid to retake the town.