from Center for Preventive Action

Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya

Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 12

August 10, 2011

Contingency Planning Memorandum
Contingency Planning Memoranda identify plausible scenarios that could have serious consequences for U.S. interests and propose measures to both prevent and mitigate them.

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Wars and Conflict


In June 2015, the author wrote an update to this memo to reflect recent developments in Libya. Read the update.

Multiple threats to Libya's stability and public order could emerge if the Qaddafi regime falls. Scenarios range from Qaddafi loyalist forces launching a violent resistance to internecine warfare breaking out among the rebel factions. This instability in Libya could lead to a humanitarian disaster, the emergence of a new authoritarian ruler, or even the country's dissolution. Given these potential consequences, Daniel Serwer recommends in this Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum that the European Union lead a post-Qaddafi stabilization force in Libya. The force preferably should fall under the United Nations umbrella with modest participation from the African Union and Arab League. The United States should support the stabilization effort with the aim of helping to establish a united and sovereign Libya with inclusive democratic institutions.

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