New report by Brookings Institution advocates for ‘city-first’ approach to stabilise Libya
On 11 February, Brookings Institution published a new report entitled « Empowered decentralization : a city-based strategy for rebuilding Libya ». Experts and researchers John R. Allen, Hady Amr, Daniel L. Byman, Vanda Felbab-Brown, Jeffrey Feltman, Alice Friend, Jason Fritz, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Bruce Jones, Mara Karlin, Karim Mezran, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Federica Saini Fasanotti, Landry Signé, Arturo Varvelli, and Frederic Wehrey contributed to the report.
The group of experts articulate the reports around two key notions. First, they advocate for a renewed involvement of the United States of America in the Libyan crisis, arguing that the current situation on the ground presents an opportunity for Washington to make a substantial difference. They also highlight Libya’s key geographical position and insist on the fact that it should be considered by the US as an important interest.
Furthermore, the experts propose a new concept for the U.S approach in Libya, a bottom-up approach focusing on key cities in terms of politics, economy and security instead of the traditional top-down approach. The authors argue that a bottom-up strategy would be more coherent with Libyan issues and needs and believe that national-level institutions could emerge from the metropolitan entities, if the approach is successfully implemented. Their proposal for such a strategy is rooted in the observation that in Libya the international community has in general focused excessively upon the national political process at the expense of other issues and such an approach has thus far not been met with results. They write:
Significant economic, political, and security activity would then center on the country’s dozen to 15 major cities. Criteria would be established for how local entities could qualify for their fair-share allotment of oil revenues and international aid. An oversight board composed of Libyan technocrats and foreign experts would assess eligibility based on the actual behavior of the local actors. They would have the power to dock militias and other local actors a percentage of their monthly allocation of funds in the event of serious misbehavior such as abuse of human rights, interference with normal economic activity, theft, or violence.
Click here to read the full report.