After ISIS: How to Win the Peace in Iraq and Libya
The European Council on Foreign Relations has published an excellent and highly informative paper written by Hayder al-Khoei, Ellie Geranmayeh & Mattia Toaldo looking at post-Isis stabilisation efforts with a special focus on Iraq and Libya, with the aim of assessing where European states can play a more meaningful role in ensuring that the important military gains of recent months are not squandered once the anti-ISIS guns fall quiet. The authors believe this is a track of increased importance given that the incoming US administration is likely to invest less resources than ever in strengthening sustainable stability, and that the fall out of failure will directly impact European interests in terms of the threat of terrorism and challenge posed by ongoing migration.
The paper’s policy recommendations for Libya are:
- Strengthen the political coalition behind Tripoli’s government: the EU and its member states, through bilateral and multilateral mediation and engagement with Libyan political actors, could work to expand the coalition-backing unity efforts.
- Help Libyans build a decentralised state: the EU should help to (1) unlock funds from the central government for municipalities; (2) encourage coordination and provide advice and recommendations on best practice; (3) promote capacity-building through ‘on the job training’ in Europe for Libyan civil servants.
- Support deep reconciliation efforts: EU member states should provide logistical support or ‘adopt’ tracks of dialogue similar to those pursued in the past by countries undergoing democratic transition, like Spain or Bulgaria.
- Pursue military de-escalation: the EU and its member states should support efforts to reach a military deal between different actors in western and southern Libya.
- Conclude an economic deal to keep the country united: the EU and its member states must give concrete support to a deal that saves the country from economic collapse while addressing the legitimate concerns of eastern Libya about marginalisation within a unified Libya.
- Do not forget Sirte (and Benghazi): de-mining, humanitarian relief, and building the conditions for the safe return of IDPs are priorities not just for Sirte’s residents but also for the stability of the rest of western Libya.
- Deal with regional powers and Russia through the UNSC, and set up an EU member state ‘contact group’: its main policy should be to preserve the ‘architecture’ of resolutions and agreements negotiated by the UN and approved by the UNSC over the past two years with the support of the US, Egypt and Russia.
Click here to read the full paper.