After the capture of Libyan prime minister, what’s next?

Ali Zeidan, Libya
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, left, was briefly kidnapped in his own country Thursday.
Credit: Getty Images

First the militia captured the prime minister in his hotel room in central Tripoli, then it released him. The mystery surrounding the kidnapping of Libyan’s Ali Zeidan thickens: Less than 24 hours after kidnapping him “on orders from the prosecutor-general,” fighters from a group loosely tied to the government released the prime minister. Is Libya safe?

Metro spoke with James Forest, professor and director of security studies at the University of Massachusetts, who also researches insurgences and terrorism at the Pentagon-run Joint Special Operations University.

What does this incident stay about the state of security in Libya?

In a country that runs properly the government has a monopoly on the use of force. That’s clearly not the case in Libya. It’s very concerning when a violent group can coerce the leaders of the country with the use of force. It sends the message that we can catch you and force you to do things our way. And if the groups get away with it, it will undermine the government’s authority in the long run.

And then…?

The incident is concerning both domestically and internationally. Domestically, it will affect citizens’ faith in their government, in security, and in the economy. The pattern in Libya and other countries is that high levels of uncertainty lead to large numbers of people trying to leave. Internationally, it will impact countries’ willingness to do business with Libya. When a country signs an agreement with another country, it’s done in good faith and with the assumption that the country will have a functioning government. A situation like this could harm development aid to Libya, for example.

What should the international community do now?

We should communicate to the militias that it’s not in their interest to undermine the government: Fewer international government contracts, less development aid would affect all Libyans, them included.


Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."


Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.


Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…


New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.


Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…


Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.


Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.


Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…


2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch


2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.


2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced


Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.


Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.


Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.