By Padraig O'Hannelly.
On the fourth anniversary of Libya’s 17th February 2011 Revolution, the country faces its biggest crisis since the fall of Gaddafi.
Just as the UN-sponsored talks appeared to be making some progress, the barbaric murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL) in Tripoli raised the stakes in the ongoing conflict, and precipitated airstrikes by the Egyptian air force.
It's a long way from the hopes and dreams that many shared four years ago, but it would be a mistake to imagine that everyone shared those hopes and dreams; there were winners and losers from the revolution, just as there were winners and losers under Gaddafi, and there will be winners and losers in any new agreement.
But in the meantime, there are just losers, as the factions compete for dominance in the hope of gaining a bigger slice of the pie.
And there is a lot to play for in Libya, which has been generously endowed with the sort of energy reserves that could be used to build a prosperous, free and peaceful society for all, rather than subsidising non-jobs in the public sector for those with the right connections.
Those discussions, however, are for later. The immediate challenge is to convince all sides to cede power to the state, and to structure a solution that ensures the rights of all Libya's citizens.
The UN and the international community can help, but the real leaps of faith must come from Libyans themselves.
(Flag image via Shutterstock)