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Hill Briefing: Russia, Libya, & the 2019 Libya Stabilization Act

By: | posted on: Dec 3, 2019

Date(s) - 12/03/2019
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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Russell Senate Office Building, Room 485


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Libyan American Alliance


Join LAA on Capitol Hill for a briefing about Russia, Libya, and how the 2019 Libya Stabilization Act can address Libya’s political crisis.

About this Event:

Hill Briefing: Russia, Libya, & the 2019 Libya Stabilization Act

Despite international efforts to resolve the conflict since 2011, violence and instability persist in Libya. Regional players have exhausted the country’s ability to sustain social and political stability. With the absence of a clear US role in Libya, a paralyzed UN Mission, and increased Russian engagement, Libya is facing its biggest political and humanitarian crisis since World War II.

On April 4th, 2019, warlord Khalifa Haftar, backed by Russian forces affiliated with the Wagner Group, launched a brutal offensive on the Libyan capital of Tripoli. With Haftar aiming to control Libya’s political and financial institutions, including the Central Bank and the National Oil Corporation, this offensive is ongoing, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands internally displaced.

Striving to control the country’s assets, numerous malevolent foreign actors have become involved in Libya, chief among them Russia. Given the US vacuum in Libya since 2012, Russia’s footprint in Libya grows larger by the day, threatening not only Libya’s fragile democracy and civil state, but also strategic US interests in the region, from counter-terrorism to trade to migration.

This past month, Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), and Colin Allred (D-TX) on the House side and Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) on the Senate side introduced the Libya Stabilization Act, a bill that clarifies and strengthens U.S. policy in support of a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Libya.

The Libya Stabilization Act would place sanctions on individuals fueling violence in the country, require a report on foreign government involvement, and require a strategy to counter Russian influence. The bill would also marshal U.S. resources, including humanitarian assistance, to support the Libyan people and an eventual unified Libyan government.

On December 3rd, in Room 485 of the Russell Senate Office Building, the Libyan American Alliance will hold a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss the increasing role of Russia in Libya and how the Libya Stabilization Act addresses this and other political crises in Libya that threaten US strategic interests. Questions from the audience will follow panelists’ brief statements. Lunch will be provided.


Theodore Karasik

Dr. Theodore Karasik is currently a Senior Advisor to Gulf State Analytics, a geo-strategic consultancy based in Washington, DC. He was an adjunct lecturer at the Dubai School of Government where he taught graduate level international relations. Karasik was a senior political scientist in the International Policy and Security Group at RAND Corporation. From 2002-2003, he served as director of research for the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy. He is a specialist in geopolitics and geoeconomics for the MENA and Eurasia regions and frequently conducts studies and assessments of future trajectories. Dr. Karasik received his Ph.D in history from the University of California, Los Angeles in four fields: Russia, Middle East, Caucasus, and an outside field in cultural anthropology focusing on tribes and clans from Central Asia to East Africa. He wrote his dissertation on military and humanitarian operations in the northern port city of Arkhangel’sk and their impact on political institutions during the Russian civil war.

William Lawrence

Dr. William Lawrence has thirty-two year’s experience working on the MENA region and wider Muslim world and lived immersively for thirteen years in seven Muslim majority countries. Since 2011, he has served successively as International Crisis Group’s North Africa Project Director, as the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director, and as Control Risk’s Middle East and North Africa Associate Director. Previously, he served as Senior Advisor for Global Engagement in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), working closely with the White House on core Obama administration Cairo-speech-related initiatives. He co-created the Global Innovation Through Science and Technology (GIST) Program, the U.S. Science Envoy Program, and the Maghreb Digital Library; co-chaired of the U.S.-Egypt S&T development fund for four years; and served at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, helping negotiate the first U.S.-Libya bilateral agreement in decades. He has taught at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Tufts/Fletcher School, Amideast/Mohamed V in Rabat, and Cadi Ayyad in Marrakesh and lectured at over 100 universities worldwide. He appears regularly on NPR, BBC, VOA, France 24, Al Jazeera Arabic and English, and CCTV (China). He received six merit awards from the U.S. State Department, two medals from the Egyptian government, and an alumni achievement award from Duke University. He co-produced 6 MENA-related documentary films and 14 albums of North African music.

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