Reconstructing Libya: Stability Through National Reconciliation

Content from the Brookings Doha Center is now archived. In September 2021, after 14 years of impactful partnership, Brookings and the Brookings Doha Center announced that they were ending their affiliation. The Brookings Doha Center is now the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, a separate public policy institution based in Qatar.

More than two years since the death of Muammar al-Qaddafi, the euphoria of revolution has worn off as Libya faces a multitude of difficulties. In addition to more immediate security issues, Libya struggles with questions about the past actions of the Qaddafi regime. How are those responsible for past crimes to be held accountable? And how can a deeply divided and highly militarized society establish the foundations of a more stable and secure political order?

In a new Analysis Paper by the Brookings Doha Center, Ibrahim Sharqieh highlights the urgent need for Libyans to embark on a credible and comprehensive process of national reconciliation. Drawing on extensive field research and interviews with key Libyan actors, Sharqieh argues that Libya must reassess its current legislation on the political isolation of old regime officials, launch an inclusive national dialogue process, and introduce comprehensive institutional reforms of the security services, the state bureaucracy, the media, and the judiciary.

While the bulk of the responsibility rests with the new Libyan government, Sharqieh emphasizes the need for any national reconciliation process to include important sectors of society, including women, civil society organizations, and tribes. He also maintains that the international community has a critical, though necessarily limited, role to play in supporting Libya’s efforts at national reconciliation.