Libya

The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi assumed leadership and began to espouse his political system at home, which was a combination of socialism and Islam. During the 1970s, Qadhafi used oil revenues to promote his ideology outside Libya, supporting subversive and terrorist activities that included the downing of two airliners - one over Scotland, another in Northern Africa - and a discotheque bombing in Berlin. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated Qadhafi politically and economically following the attacks; sanctions were lifted in 2003 following Libyan acceptance of responsibility for the bombings and agreement to claimant compensation. Qadhafi also agreed to end Libya's program to develop weapons of mass destruction, and he made significant strides in normalizing relations with Western nations. Unrest that began in several Middle Eastern and North African countries in late 2010 erupted in Libyan cities in early 2011. Qadhafi's brutal crackdown on protesters spawned a civil war that triggered UN authorization of air and naval intervention by the international community. After months of seesaw fighting between government and opposition forces, the Qadhafi regime was toppled in mid-2011 and replaced by a transitional government. Libya in 2012 formed a new parliament and elected a new prime minister.

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.

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.

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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.

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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Participatory and Inclusive Constitution-Making

In the wake of the Arab Spring, citizens across the Middle East and North Africa are demanding reforms from their governments. How these governments respond to their people and promote inclusive constitution-making processes may determine whether their new social compacts lead to a durable peace. This report draws from the work of scholars and constitution makers who have been exchanging ideas about how to ensure that modern constitutions incorporate the needs and aspirations of the citizens they are intended to govern. As the countries of the Arab Spring transition from authoritarian regimes and overcome ethnic and sectarian divisions, they can learn lessons from comparative constitution-making experiences—including most recently that of Tunisia—about how to achieve more consensus based social compacts and lasting peace.

Jason Gluck and Michele Brandt

Summary

  • Many of the countries of the Arab Spring face daunting challenges. Syria is racked by war. Libya’s transition is challenged by armed militias vying for control. In Egypt, the early promise of popular transformation has reinforced divisions in society. Jordan and Morocco have taken steps toward reform, but it is still unclear whether these countries can meet the demands of their citizens. It is also unclear to what extent Yemen’s mediated transition and ongoing constitution-making process will lead to a more stable and democratic society.
Thu, 01/29/2015 - 15:02

Asia Conference: China in the Middle East

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 09:00
Tue, 02/17/2015 - 18:00

China’s emerging role in the Middle East is expanding in tandem with Beijing’s burgeoning economic, political, and to a lesser extent, military interests in the region. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Georgetown University Center for Security Studies on Tuesday, Feb. 17, for a daylong conference to discuss these dynamics and their ramifications.

Some regional leaders and scholars express concern about the implications of greater Chinese influence while others argue for a greater Chinese contribution to regional stability. China could leverage its significant soft power to help resolve conflicts, for example. A recent Pew global poll found that China's favorability rating in the region was higher than that of the United States.

0830-0930: Registration

0930-0945: Welcome

  • Jim Reardon-Anderson
    Interim Dean, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Nancy Lindborg
    President, United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

0945-1045:What is China’s Role in the Middle East?

  • Degang Sun
    Professor, Middle East Studies Institute, Shanghai International Studies University
  • Dan Blumenthal
    Director of Asian Studies, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • Dawn Murphy
    Assistant Professor, Air War College
  • Oriana Skylar Mastro, Moderator
    Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

1045-1100: Break

1100-1200:Does China Enhance Stability in the Middle East?

  • Steve Levine
    Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University
  • Paul Sullivan
    Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University
  • Mikkal Herberg
    Senior Lecturer, University of California, San Diego
  • Sarhang Hamasaeed, Moderator
    Senior Program Officer, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP

1200-1230: Break

1230-1345:
Lunch Keynote: Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)
President Emeritus, Middle East Policy Council & U.S. China Policy Council

1345-1400: Break

1400-1500: How Do Different Players in the Region See China’s Expanding Role?

  • Jon Alterman
    Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and 
    Director of Middle East Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • John Garver
    Professor of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Sam Chester
    Analyst, Clarity Capital
  • Daniel Byman, Moderator
    Associate Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

1500-1515: Break

1515-1615: How Should U.S. Policy Adapt to These Changes?

  • Barbara Bodine
    Director, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University
  • Aaron David Miller
    Vice President for New Initiatives, Distinguished Scholar, The Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Michael O’Hanlon
    Senior Fellow and Co-Director, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, The Brookings Institution
  • Thomas McNaugher, Moderator
    Director of Studies, Georgetown University Center for Security Studies

1615-1630: Concluding Remarks: What are Important Areas for Future Inquiry?

  • Oriana Skylar Mastro
    Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
  • Manal Omar
    Acting Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP
  • David Maxwell 
    Associate Director, Georgetown University Center for Security Studies
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Why the U.S. Foreign Aid and Disaster Relief Process is Broken

Changing how peacebuilding organizations measure success could save aid projects that are stuck trying to meet rigid, dated, and increasingly arbitrary goals in conflict zones.

Andrew Blum

Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan -- a depressing list, which seems to grow each day. It can be read as shorthand for human suffering and international tragedy. For the multitude of conflict prevention and humanitarian organizations that are committed to preventing the calamities that have struck these countries, the list is a sobering reminder of how much work needs to be done.

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 08:49
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The Current Situation in Libya

Libya currently faces political deadlock and deteriorating security situation. Trust in government institutions has fallen to an all-time low, and political elites are beginning to use armed groups to force political action during sustained deadlock, creating parallel security structures that undermine the state.

USIP’s Work

USIP’s engagement in Libya aims to build capacity of local actors and institutions to prevent, mitigate and manage conflict; address local needs and promote local ownership; and develop, implement and share holistic analysis and integrated approaches to peacebuilding.  Some examples of recent work in Libya include:

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:39
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Articles & Analysis

American and British ambassadors joined Libyan activists and analysts for a USIP Twitter chat this week, as rival lawmakers in Libya met for negotiations brokered by the United Nations to end the...

By:
Steven Ruder

It is with broken hearts and the deepest of sorrows that we at USIP write this blog post. On June 25, the world lost a cherished peacebuilder and heroine to many, Salwa Bughaigis. She was killed...

By:
USIP Libya Team

In non-violent uprisings and more full scale revolutions ranging from the Arab spring to the overthrow of the President in Ukraine, one common underlying propellant was rebellion against...

By:
Viola Gienger

Videos & Webcasts

On October 24, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the McCain Institute and the Truman National Security Project-Center for National Policy convened a...

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.

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...

Learn More

Publications

In the wake of the Arab Spring, citizens across the Middle East and North Africa are demanding reforms from their governments. How these governments respond to their people and promote inclusive...
By:
USIP Staff
Libya currently faces political deadlock and deteriorating security situation. Trust in government institutions has fallen to an all-time low, and political elites are beginning to use armed groups...