“Inside Libya’s Wild West” explores Libya’s rarely examined southwestern province of Fezzan and how its porous border, tribal tensions, and lack of coordination with central authorities is emblematic of the Libyan government’s failure to deliver for its citizens.  

Authored by independent researcher Valerie Stocker, the brief details the lack of security on Libya’s southwestern borders, which thrives on crime, smuggling, and a rise in Islamic militant activity. The exclusion of regional tribes and ethnic groups from the central government breeds continued distrust and fosters a lack of coordination not only between the central government and the region, but among the regional players as well.  

The situation in the Fezzan illustrates the government’s inability to focus on strategic areas beyond Tripoli, patrol and secure its own borders, and overcome ethnic and tribal discord to provide national unity. Stocker outlines steps stakeholders can take to help strengthen security at the border, create an inclusive government structure to utilize leaders from Fezzan, and ensure that international action is focused where it may have the greatest impact in stabilizing the fragile region.

Valerie Stocker is a freelance researcher, journalist, and consultant, with a particular interest in Libyan politics and society. After graduating in international affairs and Middle East studies from the French Institut d’Etudes Politiques, she worked at the Commercial Section of the Austrian Embassy in Tripoli from 2009 until 2012 and has spent much of the past five years in Libya.