“The danger is that you have young men returning from battle, bored and with a newfound sense of regional identity and personal pride,” said a Western official in Tripoli, who was not authorized to comment on the record…

Militias possess not only rifles, but also antiaircraft guns, rocket launchers and other heavy weapons.

“In the future, we’ll give them up to the military — when we have a military,” said Ashraf Jibril, 32, a jeans-clad revolutionary guarding the military airport. But the military can exert control only if the armed militias abandon their weapons, diplomats say…

Diplomats say they expect Belhadj, who played a key role in the revolution, to seek senior Defense Ministry posts for his allies. That has caused some unease among Western officials, since Belhadj belonged to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization. Belhadj has said he did not support al-Qaeda, as some members of the group did.