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.
Libya Can Move Past Its Political Deadlock, But It Will Take Work to Maintain A ‘Deal’
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.
Beyond Elections: Libya Needs Unified Institutions and Reconciliation
Last week, the U.N. Security Council met to discuss its Libya mission and its new plan to end the country’s political impasse through elections. While credible polls will be a critical step in forging a path to peace, they are not a panacea for addressing this byzantine conflict’s deeply rooted drivers and the intense, bitter rivalries and factionalism that have surfaced since 2011. Indeed, previous efforts to hold elections have buckled under the weight of the intricate dynamics at play. Over a decade after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, resolving Libya's complex conflict will require a multifaceted approach that prioritizes building trust among Libyans.
For Libyans, Elections Are Just Part of the Path to Peace
In mid-March, a delegation of prominent Libyans traveled to Washington carrying an important message: a new U.N. initiative focused on holding elections is welcome but it must be part of a bigger, comprehensive reconciliation effort to bring peace and stability to Libya. According to the deputy head of Libya’s Presidential Council, Abdullah Al-Lafi, reconciliation — and elections — can only be achieved by Libyans themselves. In Washington, Al-Lafi and the members of his delegation presented their own initiative for a national reconciliation project in order to create a Libyan-led process that complements the plan for elections proposed by U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Abdoulaye Bathily.
Fragility and Conflict
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.
Religious Women Negotiating on the Frontlines
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.
Religious Landscape Mapping in Conflict-Affected States
Diplomats and peace practitioners often cite lack of familiarity with the religious landscape as a barrier to their engagement of religious actors. In 2013, USIP launched an initiative to address this need by developing a methodology for systematically mapping and assessing the religious sector’s influence on conflict and peace dynamics in discrete conflict settings. These mappings, which have been done or are underway in Libya, South Sudan, Iraq and Burma, help illuminate recommendations for effective partnerships within the religious sector for peacebuilding.