Can Libya Be Put Back Together?

Six years after the fall of Qaddafi, Libya still teeters on the edge of chaos. Here’s why that matters.

On this episode of the E.R.,  the panel discusses the Libyan Political Agreement.
On this episode of the E.R., the panel discusses the Libyan Political Agreement.
On this episode of the E.R., the panel discusses the Libyan Political Agreement.

U.N. Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé reconvened negotiations this week to finalize amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement. It has been six years after the fall of dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, yet no binding political framework has been established and multiple bodies claim regional governance. The power vacuum has allowed the Islamic State and other extremist groups to establish strongholds, creating alarm for neighbors and regional powers who fear regional spillover and the ensuing migrant flows.

On this week’s second episode of The E.R, FP’s Executive Editor for the web Ben Pauker is in Brussels with Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Joost Hiltermann, and Colin Kahl. What is at stake for Europe and the Middle East in a fractured Libya? And while President Trump has thrown the Iran deal back to Congress, what does decertification mean for U.S. allies?

H.E. Mohamed Abushahab has served as ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the EU. Since January 2017. He was previously the director of policy planning in the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation. He spent five years at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations in New York.

U.N. Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé reconvened negotiations this week to finalize amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement. It has been six years after the fall of dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, yet no binding political framework has been established and multiple bodies claim regional governance. The power vacuum has allowed the Islamic State and other extremist groups to establish strongholds, creating alarm for neighbors and regional powers who fear regional spillover and the ensuing migrant flows.

On this week’s second episode of The E.R, FP’s Executive Editor for the web Ben Pauker is in Brussels with Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Joost Hiltermann, and Colin Kahl. What is at stake for Europe and the Middle East in a fractured Libya? And while President Trump has thrown the Iran deal back to Congress, what does decertification mean for U.S. allies?

H.E. Mohamed Abushahab has served as ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the EU. Since January 2017. He was previously the director of policy planning in the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation. He spent five years at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations in New York.

Joost Hiltermann is the program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group where he leads the organization’s research, analysis, policy prescription and advocacy in and about the region. Previously, he was Crisis Group’s chief operating officer where he was responsible for the oversight and management of the organization’s programs and operations around the world. Follow him on Twitter: @JoostHiltermann.

Colin H. Kahl is an associate professor in the security studies program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and a strategic consultant at the Penn-Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. From 2014 to 2017, he was deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East. In 2011, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by Secretary Robert Gates. Follow him on Twitter: @ColinKahl.

Ben Pauker is FP’s executive editor for the web. Follow him on Twitter: @benpauker.

This episode was recorded in Brussels on October 10, 2017. Portions were re-recorded for audio quality.

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