Since the 2011 Arab uprisings, Libya and Tunisia’s trajectories have been a study in contrast. Tunisia is often touted as the lone success story of the Arab Spring, and, despite economic and security challenges, has made significant democratic progress in the last seven years. Meanwhile, Libya has been in a chaotic and fragile state since the ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The two countries share a porous 285-mile border, which has been exploited by extremist groups like ISIS to smuggle arms, contraband and people. Indeed, the majority of foreign fighters in Libya come from Tunisia. The U.S. Institute of Peace asked our Mike Yaffe and the American Enterprise Institute’s Emily Estelle for their insights on confronting the terrorist threat and addressing governance challenges in the two North African nations.
Yaffe and Estelle came together as part of the 49th joint USIP-Partnership for a Secure America Congressional Briefing Series. The program aims to build cross-party relationships, encourage bipartisan dialogue, and equip congressional staff with new perspectives on critical issues in the international conflict resolution and prevention field.