'Liberated' Eastern Libya Adjusts To Life Without Gaddafi Rule

Centre for Security Governance eSeminar - Libya: Dealing with the Militias and Advancing Security Sector Reform By: Matthew Redding | SSR | Oct 30, 2013

The Centre for Security Governance is launching its inaugural eSeminar on November 6th, 2013 to discuss Libya’s militias and security sector reform. The event is free and will be held entirely online using the Security Governance Group`s eConferencing platform. Find out more below. 

Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, the security situation in Libya has been marked by the widespread presence of non-state and semi-official armed groups, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and general instability. The twin goals of demobilizing Libya’s litany of non-state armed groups—reintegrating them into civilian society—and transforming the country’s security sector are widely seen as lynchpins for the restoration of security and the stabilization of the volatile political situation. This is the subject of the first Centre for Security Governance eSeminar entitled, “Libya: Dealing with the Militias and Advancing Security Sector Reform”. The event will be held on November 6th, 2013 from 1:00-3:00pm EST and is the first instalment of an eSeminar series that will examine key security sector reform (SSR) issues and cases.

The eSeminar will assemble a panel of Libyan and international experts and insiders to discuss the current state of demobilization and SSR efforts in Libya and the way forward for these critical processes. Dealing with Libya’s militias is a complex and contentious undertaking. There are many different types of armed groups operating in Libya, ranging from semi-official militias such as the Ketibas and Libyan Shield that operate with the tacit support of the central government, to criminal and extremist groups that have regularly utilized violence to advance their criminal and ideological goals. The absence of adequate oversight and accountability of the semi-official groups coupled with the inability of the Libyan security forces to contain the illegal groups has challenged the legitimacy of the Libyan state and fostered general instability and a culture of impunity.

The weakness of the formal security sector has contributed to contradictory state policies towards the militias, shifting back and forth from disbandment to conciliation. From this fluctuating and inconsistent strategy has emerged a hybrid security arrangement that may not be sustainable over the medium to long-term. This has been made evident by a number of recent security incidents involving militia attacks on Libyan government ministries and agencies, as well as high-profile incidents like the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and the 2013 kidnapping of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan by militias aligned with the Libyan government. Such incidents have seemingly highlighted the critical importance of advancing programs to demobilize Libya’s militias and develop the formal security sector.

A number of initiatives have been launched to achieve the goals of reigning in Libya’s militias and implementing SSR. For example, the Libyan government-appointed Warriors Affairs Commission is mandated to oversee the demobilization and reintegration of former combatants through “developmental plans and programs of rehabilitation, education, training, human resource development and capacity building” (WAC, 2013). The government has also put forward a SSR plan which will focus on “recruitment, rehabilitation, training, and equipment with the assistance and collaboration of friendly governments, such as Jordan, Qatar, and Turkey” (Salem and Kadlec, 2012: 9). However, these policies and programs are still nascent, having achieved only modest results to date, and face a number of obstacles, including limited local ownership and poor security.

Our expert panelists are well-placed to provide insight on how to move beyond this impasse:

Frederic Wehrey is a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research focuses on political reform and security issues in the Arab Gulf states, Libya, and U.S. policy in the Middle East more broadly. He is the co-author of Building Libya’s Security Sector (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2013)

Simonetta Silvestri has been working in Libya since June 2011 as the Security Governance Advisor and Coordinator for the EU Delegation in Libya. She has extensive experience in Security Sector Reform, Human Rights and Public Administration gained through postings in Cambodia, South Africa, Mozambique, Haiti, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bangladesh.

Abdul Rahman AlAgeli - Abdul Rahman AlAgeli is the security file coordinator in the Decision Support Office in the Office of the Prime Minister, and representative of the Prime Minister’s Office and Rapporteur in the Supreme committee on border affairs, (the Integrated Border Management and Security working group). He is also a founder of the Libyan Youth Forum, a youth NGO formed during the revolution which aims to empower youth in Libya, as well as being part of the World Economic Forums Global Shapers community.

Mustafa A. El Sagezli - Mustafa El Sagezli is the General Manager of the Warriors Affairs Commission in Libya - a governmental body that works for the productive reintegration of ex-combatants into Libyan society. He is also a member of the Higher Committee for Integration of Ex-Combatants, working directly under the Prime Minister.

The free online event will be hosted on the CSG’s eConferencing platform and will feature panel presentations, followed by a live interactive Q&A session. To register for the event please do so through our Eventbrite page.


If you have any questions, please contact [email protected]