In early 2023, the U.N. special representative for Libya made national elections his top priority. The United States and other interested countries endorsed this strategy, pledging to push for elections before the end of the year. However, armed groups and political factions have divided Libya into fiefdoms, often with support from powerful patrons abroad. Right now, elections in 2023 seem unlikely, if not impossible — and elections in 2024 may also be wishful thinking.
As these election efforts sputter, there is a temptation to shift focus to demobilization, disarmament and reintegration (DDR). However, as Tim Eaton explains in his latest report from Chatham House, a successful DDR process in Libya must be based on local security dynamics. His research looks at the development of three of Libya’s most influential armed groups — Misrata, Zawiya and Zintan — and the unique nature of their engagement with local communities.
On December 12, USIP hosted a conversation with Tim Eaton on DDR in Libya. The discussion explored his report’s findings and the need to calibrate DDR efforts to local contexts in Libya — with the hope that a flexible program might be replicated in other locations and eventually expanded to the national level.
Mona Yacoubian, introductory remarks
Vice President, Middle East and North Africa Center, U.S. Institute of Peace
Gail Morgado, framing remarks
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations
U.S. Department of State
Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Andrew Cheatham, moderator
Senior Expert, U.S. Institute of Peace