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What Happens When The Gadhafi Regime Falls?

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

For more on Libya's political future, we turn to Martin Indyk. He opened communications with Gadhafi's regime when he worked in the State Department under President Clinton. And now at the Brookings Institution, Indyk hosted one of the heads of the Transitional National Council on a visit to Washington. He laid out for us some of the obstacles facing the Libyan opposition's leadership.

MARTIN INDYK: They haven't, it seems, designated a Cabinet yet. They have certain indications of differences between them, and the one unifying factor, of course, is Gadhafi and getting rid of him. So it's possible that one scenario is that they fall apart and start fighting amongst each other. I actually don't think that's what we're going to see, at least not initially. I think that they've had enough time in Benghazi working together to figure out that they have to find a way to work together. So I'm actually optimistic in the short term that they will be able to take over control.

BLOCK: We are hearing the reports of pretty strong divisions among - within this rebel movement, that the rebels who are in Tripoli now don't necessarily seem to think they're answering to the Transitional National Council in the east of the country in Benghazi. What do you think about that?

INDYK: And having said that, I think all the way along, we've kind of recoiled in horror with stories of the ragtag nature of the militias, the killing of the commander in chief, the assassination, the sense that on any particular day that it's all falling apart. But they've managed to do it. And overthrown and - frankly, they've done it more quickly than I think most people expected.

BLOCK: One area of concern has been that Libya is home to a number of tribes that have longstanding animosity. How does that complicate the future of Libya?

INDYK: So I'm not as concerned about, you know, this notion that it's just tribes with flags. The leadership of the opposition have been quite impressive in terms of their understanding of the need to build institutions from the ground up - civil society institutions, governmental institutions. And they have started to put that in place in Benghazi, and I think we'll see them transfer that process to Tripoli very quickly. And I think that there's a possibility that this could actually work.

BLOCK: OK. Martin Indyk, former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, he now directs the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution here in Washington. Thank you very much.

INDYK: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.