Libya may turn out better than Iraq

The first is that it has a substantial economic cushion: large oil revenues, a small population (6.5m) and $70bn in its sovereign wealth fund. Unlike Tunisia and Egypt, its tourism potential – Mediterranean beaches and spectacular historical sites – is virtually untapped, so there is room for some relatively easy growth, especially if exiled Libyans start returning in large numbers…

Libya’s other advantage, noted by Tom Gara in a blog post for the Financial Times, is the defeat of Gaddafi’s security forces.

“The backing of Nato air strikes means the physical infrastructure of the regime, from intelligence offices to security headquarters and military equipment, has been severely downgraded to the point of collapse,” he wrote. “The country will be the only [one] in the Arab world where an opposition movement greets the new day with an old regime that is physically broken.”