Archive: May, 2013

Libya Disapora Marketplace

USAID and Western Union Extend Libya Diaspora Marketplace Deadline To June 24, 2013

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Western Union have extended the application deadline for the Libyan Diaspora Marketplace (LDM) to Monday, June 24.  The LDM encourages sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting entrepreneurs who are U.S. citizens or permanent resident members of the Libyan diaspora community, as well as those who have a relevant connection to, or experience in, Libya. The LDM will award up to four winning businesses with matching grants of between $25,000 and $50,000 with accompanying technical assistance.  Proposals need to be submitted by 5 pm EST June 24, 2013.  Information about LDM, eligibility requirements and how to apply can be found at 

A Case for the ‘Responsibility to Rebuild’ (R2R)

I’ve written a paper for the Boston University International Law Journal, entitled: “NATO’s Libya Intervention and the Continued Case for a ‘Responsibility to Rebuild'” (Summer 2013, Vol 31, No. 2, p 365-386)

The abstract is here:

This article evaluates the success of the 2011 NATO campaign in Libya relative to the emergent and fragile doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (“R2P”).  The paper argues that, while the Libya intervention may have met  formal R2P consensus criteria, the overall success of the operation has been undermined by the failure of the international community to complement international military action with robust assistance in critical areas, including disarmament, national reconciliation and employment generation.  Collectively, these constitute a Responsibility to Rebuild (“R2R”).  This article cites developments in Libya and Syria to suggest that, despite the attendant complexities, some version of R2R is essential to continued relevance of R2P. 


The “Libya Effect” on the Syria Crisis

Did the U.S. miss an opportunity to intervene to some positive effect in Syria over the last two years, or is that a myth?

Libya may provide an interesting, if only partial, answer to that question.  Libya’s own “Islamist” problem is itself a product in part of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan– those conflicts attracted militants looking to hone their skills in the war against Gaddafi; they returned to fight in the Libyan Revolution, and many are now back in Syria helping the Islamist factions within Syrian rebel ranks.  Various sources suggest (this has not been proven), that the U.S. (may) have been providing Syrian rebels lethal aid– without knowing much about the recipients.  Libya (may) have been a source of some of this lethal aid, through “weapons exfiltration” campaigns, which some have suggested were a contributing factor behind the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on 9/11/12. In the wake of that attack, the city has become something of a  no-go zone, not only for foreigners, but for the Libyan government in Tripoli.  Had the U.S. and the West managed to help Libya recover faster, and had the attack on the US compound in Benghazi been successfully repulsed, Libya would likely be in a far better position to counter the proliferation of, and political power wielded by Islamist elements– which far outstrips their numbers.  Had Eastern Libya been ‘secured’ early on, we might well not have seen the reverse leakage of ‘Libyan’ extremists and weapons to Syria and the Sahel.

At this point, the U.S. has few, if any, good options in Syria.   There have been signs for months that the Syria morass is re-invigorating lightly-dormant sectarian tensions in Lebanon;  Jordan’s leadership has been under great, and public strain, and increasingly used as a recruiting point for Syria-bound extremists.  The stream of refugees into Turkey and Jordan may ultimately make the Iraq war refugee crisis look like a minor problem.  With Hezbullah and Iran trying to take advantage of regional chaos to rearm, and undermine Israel, the prospects of the US being drawn in at some point to support Israel increase.

While the world has waited and hoped that somehow Syria would ‘disappear’, even as tens, and now 100s of thousands have died, we’re now looking at the very real prospect of an all out regional war, with the combatant groups – and consequences– not easily bounded.   Libya might be, again, a good place to focus our efforts in the near term.