Unpacking the Conflict in Libya | Wilson Center
6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Unpacking the Conflict in Libya

Event Co-sponsors

On Tuesday, June 25, 2019, the Wilson Center Africa and Middle East Programs welcomed Mr. Anas El Gomati to the Wilson Center to hold a private briefing on the ongoing conflict in Libya. Mr. Mike Morrow, a Senior Diplomatic Fellow at the Wilson Center, offered welcome remarks, and Ms. Merissa Khurma, Project Director of the Wilson Center’s Middle East Special Initiatives, moderated the concluding question-and-answer portion. Mr. El Gomati is the founder and director of the Sadeq Institute, Libya’s first public policy think tank and the newest member of the Southern Voices Peacebuilding Network. The briefing included 38 policymakers, experts, and stakeholders from the United States, Africa, and abroad.

The discussion on Libya focused on competing narratives of the civil war and how various factions have manipulated local and international perspectives to decry their enemies and further their agendas. Misconceptions have had a profoundly negative influence, downplaying ethno-tribal tensions in favor of simpler narratives of religious extremism and bellicose warlords. The briefing also discussed how international actors, particularly the Gulf States, have sought to influence events on the ground through arms deals and diplomatic support. Participants also considered the prospect for future policy initiatives aimed at resolving the crisis, especially in response to General Haftar’s recent advance on the capital, Libya. The country remains at a critical juncture, and the conversation emphasized how U.S. policymakers can use American ‘soft power’ to potentially defuse the crisis. The event was a timely opportunity for open analysis of evolving issues.

The Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding (SVNP) is a continent-wide network of African policy and research organizations that works with the Africa Program to bring African analyses and perspectives to key issues in U.S.-Africa relations. Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York since 2011, the project provides avenues for African researchers to engage with, inform, and exchange perspectives with U.S. and international policymakers in order to develop the most appropriate, cohesive, and inclusive policy frameworks for the issues of peacebuilding and state-building in Africa.

This event was held under Chatham House non-attribution rule. 


Anas El Gomati

As the Founder and General Director of the Sadeq Institute, Anas El Gomati brings international experience in public policy, strategic policy advisory and political analysis. He is a graduate of the Politics, History and International Relations department at Loughborough University (UK), and has since worked in the Sustainability department at an IOC and served as an advisor and publisher on Libyan affairs for several European think tanks. Among his publications is “Freedom or Survival?” regarding non-violent solutions to the recent Libyan conflict. He is also a frequent and renowned commentator on Libyan and Middle Eastern affairs on Al Jazeera, France 24 (in English, French and Arabic), Sky News and several others.

Sadeq Institute

Sadeq Institute is a non-governmental think tank based in Libya that provides analysis and understanding of strategic Libyan issues and challenges by cultivating a culture of public discourse and plurality of thought. It is the world’s first research institute specializing in Libyan affairs. The Sadeq Institute aspires to a Libya where every citizen’s opinion is heard and valued, and every person is treated with dignity and respect. During this critical juncture in Libya’s history, we believe free and open discussion will be vital to the cultivation of an informed and progressive political culture. 



  • Michael Morrow

    Senior Diplomatic Fellow
    Senior Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State