Monday, September 17, 2012

Embassy attacks a test of Libyan government, UIS prof says

Whether or not the Libyan government can put those arrested in connection with Tuesday’s deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy through due process and transparency will be a real test of the new government, says a professor at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“If they can, it will be a really good sign that Libya is functioning as a real democracy,” said Kristi Barnwell, assistant professor of history with a concentration in the modern Middle East.

Barnwell said one question that prevails as some Arab countries go through the process of establishing democratic governments is whether those governments will be secular and moderate or Islamic and fundamentalist.

“We’ve found it’s a mixed bag,” she said. “Egypt held parliamentary elections, and the fundamentalists had a strong showing. Libya was a victory for the secular moderates, and we’re still waiting on Yemen.”

Barnwell was featured by the State Journal-Register on Sept. 15, 2012.

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