Libya's Fragmentation: Structure and Process in Violent Conflict

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This event was a discussion around Wolfram Lacher's latest book Libya's Fragmentation: Structure and Process in Violent Conflict. After the overthrow of the Qadhafi regime in 2011, Libya witnessed a dramatic breakdown of centralized power. Countless local factions carved up the country into a patchwork of spheres of influence. Only the leader of one armed coalition, Khalifa Haftar, managed to overcome competitors and centralize authority over eastern Libya. But his attempt to seize power in the capital Tripoli failed due to tenacious resistance from dozens of armed groups in western Libya, and was ultimately defeated by Turkish intervention. Rarely does internal division and political fragmentation occur as radically as in Libya, where it has been the primary obstacle to the re-establishment of central authority. The book analyzes the forces that have shaped the country's trajectory since 2011. Based on hundreds of interviews with key actors in the conflict, it shows how war transformed pre-existing social structures. The book places the social ties of actors at the centre of analysis and explores the links between violent conflict and social cohesion. Wolfram Lacher is a Senior Associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. His research focuses on conflict dynamics in Libya and the Sahel region, and he has done frequent field research in Libya since 2007. Lacher has been published in a range of journals and media outlets, including Survival, Mediterranean Politics, Foreign Affairs and The Washington Post. Sherine El Taraboulsi - McCarthy is an Interim Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London. Her research focuses on humanitarian politics, conflict and security in Africa and the Middle East. She has published widely in academic and policy journals and outlets, and has been featured in a number of media outlets such as al Jazeera, the BBC, RT, Thomson Reuters, the Guardian and others. Sherine holds a doctorate from the Department of International Development and St. Cross College, University of Oxford. Jessica Watkins has been a Research Officer at the Middle East Centre since 2017. She works on the DfID sponsored Conflict Research Programme and her research focuses on regional and domestic drivers of conflict and peace in Iraq and Syria. Jessica has a BA from Cambridge University in Arabic and French, a Masters in International Relations from the War Studies Department, King’s College London, and a PhD on civil policing in Jordan, also from the War Studies Department. Join the conversation on Twitter using #LSELibya

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