Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Rings Alarm Bell About Threat of ISIS in Libya; Need for the International Community to Help Libya and Defeat ISIS
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Rings Alarm Bell About Threat of ISIS in Libya; Need for the International Community to Help Libya and Defeat ISIS

Washington, D.C. — The long-term strategy for building a new political order in Libya is being disrupted by the short-term security concerns posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, according to a report released by the Center for American Progress. The report states that current threats present an opportunity for the United States and the international community to elevate assisting Libya, thus making it more of a priority, by developing a sustained strategy that has three key elements: security, diplomacy, and economic engagement.

“The struggle for power in Libya after the Gadhafi regime has created a security vacuum that ISIS is all too eager to fill,” said Bill Danvers, CAP Senior Fellow and author of the report. “Warring political factions in Libya have left rebuilding their country on the altar of divisive and destructive partisan politics. As a result, ISIS is now poised to create a base of operation in Libya that could rival their operations in Syria and Iraq. This is a threat to the United States, Europe, and the nations of North Africa and the Middle East. While there are clearly many crises in the Middle East and elsewhere that require attention, the situation in Libya has become so dire that it must be moved near the top of the national security agenda.”

The paper offers several concrete recommendations that the international community, led by the United States and its allies, should implement in order to help Libyans with their immediate security problem and longer-term efforts of rebuilding their nation. The paper emphasizes that in order for Libya to rebuild its governmental institutions and its economy, it must implement the U.N. agreement to form a unified government. The recommendations fall into three main groups: security, diplomacy, and economy. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Creating an international Libya support group to coordinate, among other things, all security related efforts, including airstrikes against ISIS and other terrorist groups; intelligence sharing; and possible deployment of troops in accordance with international law
  • Preparing to help Libya rebuild its security institutions once there is a unified government
  • Providing assistance to vetted Libyan militias in order to retake territory from ISIS until unified national-level security institutions can be established
  • Increasing support for security forces protecting oil facilities
  • Offering support and assistance through the G7 and G20 in order to incentivize Libya’s political factions to agree to a national unity government
  • Supporting civil society to help Libya establish a functioning, unified government
  • Securing Libya’s energy sector and working to facilitate investment to make it more competitive
  • Supporting job creation, especially for youth and demobilized militia members

Click here to read the paper.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.