As the fighting for control of the last remaining Muammar Gaddafi strongholds in Libya continues, it is important that the bigger picture of what needs to be done in the country remains in focus. Libya has experienced tremendous changes over the past few months and it is how these events are taken forward by the people that will determine the kind of future they will have.
The fighting has intensified between forces of the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) and those loyal to Gaddafi. Losses of pro-Gaddafi forces have been heavy in the city of Sirte as well as in Bani Walid.
The civilian population in these areas has also been affected, with many fleeing Sirte and others facing shortages of food and other basic items.
But it is only a matter of time before the fighting comes to an end — with the remnants of the regime crumbling completely sooner or later, paving the way for absolute and complete control by the NTC. And it is at this stage that the ruling council in Libya will be required to exert the maximum efforts to ensure the nation's unity.
For one thing, the NTC is challenged by the fact that all the tribes in Libya have to come under the banner of the state. In fact, this is a serious challenge given that the previous regime had always ensured its control by employing the divide-and-rule tactic.
In addition, now that the NTC has gained international support and recognition and has made its presence felt on the international scene, it is the difficult task of creating a formal government with its essential layers and entities that should be the target. Bringing down a regime is one thing. But building a nation is a completely different kind of exercise.