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.

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What’s Next for Libya’s Protracted Conflict?

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This week in Cairo, the United Nations will host the final round of scheduled talks between representatives from Libya’s two opposing governments: the House of Representatives (HoR) based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the High Council of State (HCS) based in the western city of Tripoli. The talks which began in April are intended to yield a “solid constitutional basis and electoral framework” for ending the country’s longstanding political stalemate.

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The New U.S. Plan to Stabilize Conflicts: The Case of Libya

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Almost 11 years after ousting the dictatorship of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains a largely ungoverned land divided among warlord-led factions that fight with support from rival foreign countries. Libya’s instability resonates widely, permitting the trafficking of weapons to the Sahel and migrants to Europe. Repeated peace efforts have failed to help Libyans form a unified national government, yet Libyans continue to show the capacity to overcome communal divisions and build peace at local levels. That demonstrated capacity offers an opportunity that can be expanded by the U.S. government’s decision, under its Global Fragility Strategy, to direct a new peacebuilding effort toward Libya.

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Elie Abouaoun on Libya’s Elections

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Young and Angry in Fezzan: Achieving Stability in Southern Libya through Greater Economic Opportunity

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Monday, November 22, 2021

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