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After Gadhafi: A More United Libya?

If Moammar Gadhafi does soon lose control over all of Libya, the question on many minds is "what happens next?"

The Economist today offers the type of story it's best known for — a bit of history, a lot of current news and a look ahead at what's likely to happen. And it ends with this, which goes against some of the current conventional wisdom that says Libya might split apart if Gadhafi is deposed:

"There is little doubt that Libya, even without Mr. Qaddafi, will remain a messy and possibly violent place. His rule has burdened it with a legacy of inadequate institutions, tangled laws and burning animosities. Sorting through this wreckage will take time, energy and ingenuity.

"Yet Libya does have some things going for it. It has plenty of cash, with foreign reserves alone totalling nearly $140 billion. Its talented exiles are eager to return. And, in a sense Mr. Qaddafi is unlikely to have foreseen, the trauma of his rule may have forged a national identity much more heartfelt than it was before."

In case you're wondering: We follow Associated Press style on the spelling of Gadhafi. The Economist, like many other news outlets, follows a different rule.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.