In October 2012, the National Congress fired recently elected prime minister Mustafa Abushagur, citing its disapproval with the government he assembled. Ali Zeidan, a career diplomat who served under Qaddafi before going into exile, was then elected prime minister. Zeidan prevailed over an Islamist candidate. The political upheaval further illustrated the weakness of the fledgling government.
The New York Times reported in December that the Obama administration privately approved to transfer of weapons from Qatar to Libyan rebels in 2011, but later expressed concern that the arms ended up in the hands of Islamic militants. The concern gained urgency as the civil war intensified in Syria and the Obama administration mulled arming rebels in that country.
The National Congress passed a broad law in May 2013 that bans from taking public office anyone who served in a senior position under Qaddafi between 1969 and 2011. As written, the law threatens the standing of several current elected officials, including congress chairman Mohammed Magarief and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Secular opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril is also vulnerable under the new law. Magarief resigned weeks after the law passed, and his deputy, Giuma Attaiga, became acting chairman of the General National Congress. In June Congress elected Nouri Abusahmen as chairman. An independent member of Parliament, Abusahmen is a Berber, a minority group that suffered discrimination under Qaddafi.
By September 2013, Libya had deteriorated economically and politically. Oil production dropped from about 1.6 million barrels per day before the civil war to 150,000, costing the country about $5 billion in revenue from exports. Strikes were mainly responsible for the reduction. Prime Minister Zeidan came under fire for failing to stem tribal fighting. In addition, the government lacked a reliable armed force, making Zeidan dependent on militias for security. These militias exploited the situation for their own gain. The countrys top cleric, Mufti al-Sadiq