Apologies for not posting yesterday like we always do on Wednesdays. We experienced some technical difficulties that are now fixed. We will share what we heard at the one year reflection on Libya event from Tuesday, September 10th at The Atlantic Council. Comments of the event via Twitter may be found with #BeyondBenghazi.
Dozens of events took place in Washington, DC in remembrance of the Benghazi attacks on the U.S. embassy compound in Libya…as well as hundreds of memorials to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. However, we chose to attend an event that focused on the expectations of Libya and Libyans co-organized by Freedom House (@FreedomHouseDC) and the Project for Middle East Democracy (@POMEDWire) at The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center (@ACMideast) since the attacks claimed U.S. Ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens. Ambassador Stevens was the sixth American ambassador killed in the line of duty because of a terrorist attack–and the first since 1970.
A few months ago, PITAPOLICY, LLC argued that Libya represents a “Frontier” market. Libya Business TV reprinted the article by our PITAPOLICY Founder, Mehrunisa Qayyum. So it was no surprise to see that the type of recommendations that emerged in Tuesday’s discussion and within an open letter to in a letter to U.S. Secretary John Kerry (
- Signatories to letter include: Karim Mezran, Atlantic Council; Charles Dunne, Freedom House; Ellen Lust, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University; Rihab Elhaj, New Libya Foundation; Tamim Baiou, 4 Point Enterprises; Anne-Marie Slaughter, New America Foundation; Hafed Al Ghwell, World Bank; Aly Abouzaakouk, Citizenship Forum for Democracy & Human Development; Anas El Gomati, Sadeq Institute and several others.
- Charles Dunne of Freedom House DC outlined five recommendations:
1) Support national dialogue.
2) Pledge support for Libya’s constitution writing process.
3) Expand technical and financial assistance for security & justice reforms.
4) Increase diplomatic & public engagement beyond corporate elites.
5) Encourage Libyan government to resolve contract disputes &
sign agreements with the U.S. Office for Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Export Import.
Managing expectations is the overall theme that the U.S. Institute for Peace emphasized. This lesson learned came at the heals of comments by USIP’s VP of Middle East, Bill Taylor, who expressed disappointment about Egypt when contrasting the different “Arab Spring” countries’ transitions: Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Libya.
Militias, Constitution Process, and Oil Contracts appear to be the top U.S. development priorities in Libya. Militias represent the security and law enforcement culture that determines how much foreign business may take place. Libya’s state militias are made up of “7 shields of security”, according to former Primer Minister Mustafa Abushagour. As Abushagour stated, “militias have no formal military training but keep the peace and are partially loyal to the government.” Such militias were called upon by the government to keep the peace in Tripoli, which has been successful thus far.
Meanwhile, Abushagour recommended that it is in Libya’s best interest to extend the four-month constitution writing process to allow grassroots national dialogue. Libya’s transition authority, the GNC, may use “stability” as an excuse to delay finalizing a constitution. :The two must be delinked,” shared Manal Omar, the USIP Director of Libya, Iraq, and Iran.
Omar added that future relations must consider the future of
#Libya oil as economic disparities in different regions remain. Moreover, the level of government control on such disparities fluctuates. Since the fall of Mummar Ghaddafi, the transitional government has increased subsidies to the Libyan people. Libya’s advantage is its oil wealth.yet, increase in #subsidies increases #civilsociety dependency on state.
- Best Lesson Learned Quote: “We ask for help from
#UN, but don’t always get someone with expertise & doesn’t understand culture.”-Abushagur
- Something to Think About: televising certain processes in live-session reflects POSITIVE national dialogue.
- Most Confusing Observation Quote: “Libyans liked our Department of Homeland Security concept & structure.”-Taylor
@usip #BeyondBenghazi #ManagingExpectations #dhs Note: To be fair, Taylor added that setting up a DHS like structure was not a recommendation to Libya.