Over a decade after the fall of the Qaddafi regime, Libya’s path toward peace and reconstruction remains deadlocked. Competition between the two rival governments drives violent conflict and deteriorates Libya’s security, economic and human rights conditions. USIP works alongside local, national and international partners to support Libyans as they promote stability and reconciliation in the country. Since 2011, the Institute has engaged at the community and national level to strengthen the rule of law, bridge social cleavages through dialogue, and support reconciliation. USIP also has reported on key factors contributing to fragility in Libya, including youth grievances and justice and security issues.
Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in Libya.
Over the past several years, even as fighting continued in other parts of Libya, civic activists in the strategically important town of Ubari and the Fezzan region worked to build peace with support from USIP. This video tells that story and the recent inauguration of a reconstructed central marketplace that has always been a core of the city’s life and economy. This was made possible through collaborative efforts between USIP, the World Food Programme, and local organizations.
In the al-Washishi district of Benghazi a burnt-out car stands in memorial to a slain Libyan National Army (LNA) special forces fighter, serving as a city-wide reflection of the country’s 2014-2017 civil war. The car belonged to Salem (Afareet) Al-Naili, whose father was brutally murdered, one of the many victims of terrorist violence in the city. Inspired by the personal loss of his father, Salem threw himself into the fighting in the city’s civil war and was ultimately also assassinated.
Since the revolution in 2011 and the toppling of the long-standing regime of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has experienced various degrees of political instability and conflict. A succession of internationally supported “transitions” have failed to bring the Libyan people a functioning state with a clear social contract based on a shared vision for the nation. This paper discusses the present challenges for good local governance as perceived by Libyan citizens and institutional actors. Through this lens, recommendations are offered for immediate, short-, and medium-term initiatives that can support the improvement of citizen relations with the three traditional arms of the state—the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
Since 2012, multiple failed political transitions have taken their toll on the Libyan people. The continued and increasingly complex internal divisions and external vectors affecting Libya threaten to send it into another spiral of crisis and violence. Local and national leaders working in good faith to stabilize the country have inevitably grown cynical as ruling elites and their international partners fail to deliver local security and good governance.
Through the Community-Based Dialogues for Reconciliation project in Libya, USIP has built the capacity of local leaders in conflict analysis, transitional justice, and dialogue facilitation. USIP is now mentoring these individuals, who are from three conflict-affected areas in Libya—Sebha, Ubari, and Nalut-Siyaan—through the process of implementing community dialogues. The goal of this project, which is funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, is to build trust between these fractured communities, ultimately resulting in increased social cohesion and longterm, sustainable reconciliation and peace. The project began in October 2018 and will conclude in April 2021.
The Global Fragility Act (GFA) is an ambitious law that makes preventing conflicts and promoting stability in countries prone to conflict a U.S. foreign policy priority. Following years of efforts that overemphasized military operations in response to extremist violence and insurgencies, the GFA requires a long-term investment to address the underlying drivers of conflict. The Biden administration has released a new strategy to implement the GFA with 10-year commitments of assistance to a group of fragile states. The GFA and the new strategy rely, in part, on recommendations made by the USIP-convened Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States.
In recent years, peace processes — such as the track 2 intra-Afghan negotiations — have shown that on both a moral and practical level, women’s inclusion is essential. Women’s involvement in peace processes increases their likelihood of success and longevity and can increase legitimacy. While more literature on women contributing to mediation and negotiation efforts is slowly being produced, little attention is currently being paid to the already existing work of women who employ their faith and mobilize religious resources for peacebuilding.