Libya

Libya remains a chaotic state with a UN-backed government hard pressed to exert control over territory ruled by a rival government, assorted militias, and extremist organizations. Stabilization will require building both trust and negotiating capacities among diverse partners. The U.S. Institute of Peace contributes to local dialogue processes and helps Libyan researchers inform policymakers on tribal allegiances and religious forces. Working on Libya since 2011, USIP also has reported on little-understood elements of the conflict such as how prisons help incubate extremist ideology, and the impact of cross-border illicit activities. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in Libya.

Personal Stories from the Frontlines of War and Peace

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 14:00
Tue, 04/28/2015 - 15:30

From Iraq to Burma, from Peru to Yemen, from Nicaragua to Nepal, the personal stories of widows, children, workers, and soldiers often are lost in the cacophony of war.  The U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a discussion and launch of "Speaking Their Peace: Personal Stories from the Frontlines of War and Peace," a book that tells the extraordinary stories of "ordinary" people from eleven conflict zones. This event included a moderated discussion with the book's author, Colette Rausch, and two members of the team that captured these memorable interviews, followed by a reception and book-signing session.

With a foreword by the Dalai Lama, the book collects interviews with 80 ordinary citizens – a taxi driver, a nun, a machinery worker, a mother -- from conflict zones all over the world. Their accounts illuminate the intensely personal experience of war, the uncertain transition to peace, and the aspirations that survive despite it all.

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Religion and Gender in Extremist Violence: A Discussion with Human Rights Defenders

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 13:30
Thu, 02/12/2015 - 15:00

Former President Jimmy Carter calls discrimination and violence against women and girls one of the most serious and pervasive -- yet ignored -- violations of human rights. Escalating violent religious extremism fuels this pattern. On Thursday, Feb. 12, the U.S. Institute of Peace and The Carter Center were pleased to host this event, which addressed ways in which human rights defenders in Libya and Iraq are working to build peace with particular attention to the role of religion and gender. 

Manal Omar, Welcoming Remarks
Acting Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP

Karin Ryan, Remarks
Senior Advisor for Human Rights and Project Director, Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls Initiative, The Carter Center

Panel Discussion: 

  • Dr. Alaa Murabit
    Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women
  • Mubin Shaikh
    Counterterrorism, CVE and De-radicalization Expert in Canada
  • Sanam Naraghi Anderlini
    Co-Founder & Executive Director, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
  • Fatima Kadhim Al-Bahadly
    Director, Al-Firdaws Society, Iraq
  • Susan Hayward, Moderator
    Interim Director, Religion & Peacebuilding Center, USIP

Q&A with audience

carter center logoReligion often is used to justify violence and the unequal status of women. More than ever, these problems are interrelated, and efforts that address them in isolation fail to produce comprehensive, long-term strategies.

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Security and Justice in Post-Revolution Libya: Dignity, Dawn, and Deadlock

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 10:00
Tue, 09/30/2014 - 12:00

Please join the U.S. Institute of Peace on September 30 for a discussion on Libya’s security and justice landscape and the country’s current crisis.

Following the 2011 Libyan revolution that removed Muammar Qaddafi from power, state security and justice institutions have struggled to reemerge to meet the needs of the people. In the resulting security vacuum, armed groups have assumed a role in security provision, many as quasi-state actors and yet outside of state command and control. Formal security and justice actors have been threatened, attacked, and assassinated. 

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Comparative National Dialogue Approaches

Wed, 11/06/2013 - 09:30
Wed, 11/06/2013 - 11:00
Subtitle: 
Transition Processes in Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen

As Yemen concludes its National Dialogue Conference, many question whether thus far inclusive and peaceful negotiations can act as a model for other transitioning countries. Tunisia also recently designed a national dialogue process to work through a political stalemate and re-start its post-Arab Spring transition process. Libya is also trying to work through its challenges through a holistic, national transition process.

While there are positive lessons learned from both countries’ experiences, there also have been pitfalls. The Yemeni and Tunisian experiences suggest that the timing of national dialogue processes vis-à-vis other political events and their relationship with other issues involved in political transition (such as institutional reform) are critical to ensuring the national dialogue can meet its stated goals.

Speakers included:

  • William Taylor, Opening Remarks
    Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, Panelist
    Chairman, Libya Institute for Advanced Studies
  • Radwan Masmoudi, Panelist
    President, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy 
  • Daniel Brumberg, Discussant
    Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Erica Gaston, Discussant
    Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Manal Omar, Moderator
    Associate Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, U.S Institute of Peace
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Water Security and Conflict Prevention Summit

Tue, 09/10/2013 - 08:30
Tue, 09/10/2013 - 14:00

On September 10, 2013, U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) hosted a summit on the growing concerns in water security and the risks for increased conflict.

Read the event coverage, USIP Hosts International Gathering on Water Security and Conflict Prevention

Water is an undeniable, un-substitutable, and powerful factor in everyone’s life, from sustaining individual lives to defining both economic and social policies and practices. As populations and demand expand while supplies decline, access to water will become increasingly difficult, raising the prospects for conflict over this precious resource. By 2025, experts estimated that 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions of absolute water scarcity.

Experts: 
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Effective Foreign Assistance and National Security: A View from Congressman Adam Smith

Fri, 07/19/2013 - 09:00
Fri, 07/19/2013 - 10:30
Subtitle: 
A USIP Congressional Newsmaker Series Event

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, offered his views on how foreign assistance preserves and promotes the country’s national security.

Drawing from his extensive experience assessing U.S. military capabilities, strengths and needs, Congressman Smith spoke about the importance of strengthening American diplomacy and development capabilities, as well as defense.

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Lessons Learned from Iraq and How They Apply to North Africa

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 10:00
Tue, 04/09/2013 - 12:00

The event highlighted the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) experience in Iraq and examined the major problems it discovered, such as America’s “ad hoc” approach, the effectiveness of oversight, funding challenges, and the larger issue of nation-building. Experts explored how lessons learned from Iraq could be applied to other American-led efforts, such as those associated with emerging democracies.

 

Read the event coverage, Iraq Lessons: Will They Be Heeded?

Experts: 

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) Stuart Bowen on March 6 released SIGIR’s final report for Congress, “Learning From Iraq,” which details the accomplishments of the U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The report provides an “instructive picture of what was the largest stabilization and reconstruction operation ever undertaken by the United States (until recently overtaken by Afghanistan)."  Additionally, the report outlines seven lessons that the U.S. should implement to improve its approach to future stabilization and reconstruction operations.

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The Arab Woman: Enhancing Leadership & Resilience

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 10:00
Mon, 12/05/2016 - 15:30
Subtitle: 
A Discussion Hosted by the League of Arab States and the U.S. Institute of Peace

The League of Arab States adopted a regional action plan on women, peace and security in partnership with U.N. Women in October 2015, highlighting the need to empower Arab female leaders to strengthen institutions and help communities address conflict peacefully. On December 5, to mark the Fifth Annual Arab-American Day, the League of Arab States and the U.S. Institute of Peace will host a discussion with Arab women leaders, academics and policymakers,  including the newly-elected Minnesota House Representative and Somali American, Ilhan Omar, on how education and economic opportunities can engage women and men in supporting women’s voices, equality and success.

Social and economic empowerment of women has been shown to strengthen stability and resilience. From the national level to the grassroots, Arab women continue to face and overcome challenges to lead their countries and communities, while empowering one another. 

Full Agenda with Biographies

Session 1: Empowering Women and Building Resilience

Nancy Lindborg,
President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Ambassador Inas Mekkawy, Introductory Remarks
Head of Women, Family and Childhood Development, League of Arab States

Randa Fahmy, Moderator
Founder, Fahmy Hudome International

Manal Omar, Panelist
Associate Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace

Hibaaq Osman, Panelist
Founder & CEO, El Karama

Donald Steinberg, Panelist
CEO, World Learning

Luncheon and Keynote Address

Representative Ilhan Omar, Keynote Speaker
Minnesota House Representative for District 60B

Dr. Linda Bishai, Moderator
Director of North Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

Session 2: The Up-and-Coming Arab Woman

Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast, Moderator
Senior Gender Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace

Marwa Alkhairo, Panelist
Manager of Partnership Development, International Youth Foundation

Hajar Sharief, Panelist
Co-Founder, Libya Ma'an Nabneeha

Sali Osman, Panelist
Cybersecurity Risk Advisory, Ernest and Young
"One to Watch" Award from Executive Women's Forum

Closing Remarks

Dr. Sahar Mohamed Khamis
Professor of Middle East Media and Communications, University of Maryland

Amy Schedlbauer
Director of the Office of Regional Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State

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Prisons and Detention in Libya

This report examines the prison system in Libya. With the permission of the Libyan Ministry of Justice and Judicial Police, United States Institute of Peace (USIP) research teams conducted two assessments of the Libyan prison system, visiting detention facilities throughout the country in 2012 and again in 2015–16 to evaluate organizational function, security, infrastructure, and prisoner well-being. This report combines and compares the findings of the two assessments, discussing the broader context of detention issues in Libya, with analysis centering on prisons under the authority of the Ministry of Justice and operated by the Judicial Police. 

Fiona Mangan and Rebecca Murray

Summary

  • Libya’s prisons and detention system is in chaos, and earlier hopes for reform have faltered.
  • The turmoil of the 2011 revolution and the subsequent emergence of two governments have created a splintered system struggling to cope with structural, security, and budgetary challenges.
  • Prisons are run not only by different branches of the rival governments but also by politically aligned armed groups outside the state’s purview.
Fri, 09/02/2016 - 13:24
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Tribe, Security, Justice and Peace in Libya Today

After the 2011 revolution in Libya that toppled Gadhafi and destroyed many state institutions, tribes and armed groups stepped in to fill the vacuum. The trend increased after the collapse of central state security in 2014. This report examines the renewed role of tribes as guarantors of social stability and providers of security and justice services in the country during the period and today.

Peter Cole with Fiona Mangan

Summary

  • Governance in Libya has long been influenced by tribal leaders alongside central authority. Tribalism and its meaning for Libyans, though, has evolved over the centuries, initially in response to outside powers and more recently to internal circumstances.
  • The first efforts to extend central government authority, introduced during the Ottoman era, were continued through the Gadhafi era and fueled significant conflict between tribes.
Fri, 09/02/2016 - 13:03
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Articles & Analysis

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Videos & Webcasts

The League of Arab States adopted a regional action plan on women, peace and security in partnership with U.N. Women in October 2015, highlighting the need to empower Arab female leaders to...

Countries from Myanmar to Chile have moved from autocratic regimes to more inclusive forms of government, though their experiences continue to be fraught with difficulties.  On September 8, the U....

The U.S. Institute of Peace, the African Union and the African Ambassadors Group co-hosted an event marking Africa Day on May 26 at the U.S. Institute of Peace. This event highlighted women’s...

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Publications

This report examines the prison system in Libya. With the permission of the Libyan Ministry of Justice and Judicial Police, United States Institute of Peace (USIP) research teams conducted two...
After the 2011 revolution in Libya that toppled Gadhafi and destroyed many state institutions, tribes and armed groups stepped in to fill the vacuum. The trend increased after the collapse of central...