How the experience of the Western Balkans could help Libya
Publisher: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, Serbia
Events in the Western Balkans in the 1990s can provide international actors with valuable lessons applicable to the situation currently unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a new policy brief by the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy.
Whether political transformations have been accompanied by more violence (as in the case of Libya), less violence (as in the case of Egypt and Tunisia), or with or without direct engagement by international forces, these countries now face a crucial and sensitive “stabilization phase” that will determine the extent of their future progress towards stability and democracy. Humanitarian issues, dysfunctional state institutions and economic crises are the main characteristics of this phase; and a resumption of hostilities is always possible.
One of the most important tools available to a state trying to establish stability is security sector reform (SSR). Conducting SSR in post-authoritarian and post-conflict environments is a difficult task filled with numerous obstacles. While it is important for international actors to respond to the specific challenges of the environments in which they work, it is equally important that these actors draw lessons from previous experiences in order to avoid repeating mistakes.
The authors of the paper focus on issues related to disarmament and demobilization, early adoption of reforms, creating suitable roles for international actors, and the “human factor,” or how reforms impact the civilian population.