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The GOOD Parts: What and Who to Read on Libya

Ding, dong, Gaddafi's gone, but the news in Libya is just getting started. We help you get up to speed.

Update: We're featuring this story, originally published in August, for some useful context to Muammar Gaddafi's death.


Back in February, rebel forces in Libya started a campaign to depose dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who'd sat atop the African nation and robbed it blind for more than 40 years. The rebels fought for months, despite extreme opposition from Gaddafi loyalists, and on Saturday they finally surrounded—and captured parts of—Tripoli. Gaddafi has now disappeared, but his dwindling forces have continued fighting the rebels, who have reportedly arrested one of Gaddafi's sons.

This is just the beginning of a story that will get more and more complex and interesting in the coming days, months, and years. For instance, how will Libya's dozens of tribes decide how to fill the power vacuum left by Gaddafi? What will happen to Gaddafi if he's caught? In an effort to help you ascertain some answers, we've curated this list of people and outlets you should be following to get up to speed. Happy reading.

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  • Mother Jones has a good Libya primer that dates back to the beginning of the uprising and has since been updated hundreds of times. It's a pain in the ass to load, but if you read from top to bottom you'll probably be all caught up.
  • If you'd like to delve even further into Libyan history, see Command Posts, where they've got letters from Winston Churchill to Franklin D. Roosevelt in which Churchill discusses Libya as it pertains to WWII.
  • Read history professor Juan Cole on why Libya is not like the war in Iraq and his top 10 myths about the Libyan conflict. You may disagree, but Cole is always sober-minded and thorough.
  • Follow @acarvin, a senior strategist at NPR and a man whose tweets about Libya are informed and seemingly endless. A warning: Do not follow him if you don't want a lot of updates. Over the weekend alone he tweeted more than 1,200 times.
  • Speaking of Twitter, read our March piece about who's tweeting best about Libya, then follow those people, too.
  • For up-to-the-minute information in bursts bigger than 140 characters, check out al Jazeera English's live blog on Libya, which scoops American outlets left and right.
  • Once you're all clear the past and present of Libya, read this article from the Abu Dhabi-based paper The National, which says Libya is now entering a "very dangerous phase." Then, look a decade into Libya's future with Foreign Policy, which speculates on the best and worst outcomes following Gaddafi's rule.
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Once you're done reading all of that, come back to this list, which we'll be updating with new gems as we find them.

photo via (cc) Flickr user B.R.Q

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