16 September 2021
Countering Violent Extremism in Libya: A Peacebuilding Perspective

8th session of the webinar "Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context"

New session of the webinar (in english) "Political participation in its "extreme" Middle East context", organized by the FMSH and Ifpo for the PAVE project, with the intervention of the researcher Bilgehan Öztürk.



Webinar in english

Thursday, September 9, 2021

5pm - 6h30pm

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Bilgehan Öztürk got his bachelors degree from TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara. He was awarded Jean Monnet Scholarship by Council of Europe in 2011 and completed his masters degree at Kings College London, in the Department of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies with Distinction. He was awarded Associate of Kings College (AKC) title, which is granted by Kings College London only, for his special degree on religion and philosophy. He continues his PhD studies at Middle East Technical University, in the Department of International Relations. Border security, Syrian civil war, armed non-state actors, radical groups and radicalisation are among his research interests.


Libya has been experiencing a volatile period since the 2011 revolution that toppled the 42-year-long reign of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi. Since the revolution, the country has faced state failure, the spread of militias and extremist groups, and interventions of regional and global powers. The civil war in the country and the civil war's internal and external dynamics have further destabilised the country, leading to a regional crisis and the spread of uncertainty. The problem of violent extremism that is tackled in this work is just one of the critical aspects of Libya's broader problems.

Violent Extremism (VE) is a social and security threat that manifests itself across all countries, regions or societies, and Libya has not been an exception. Although VE is an omnipresent phenomenon, it hits contexts such as failed states, ethnic, sectarian, religious or tribal fault lines/cleavages, civil wars, and authoritarian regimes especially hard. The cracks, which paved the way for the blossoming of VE's root causes, were created during the reign of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi and were exposed after his toppling. These causes were further exacerbated by the Libyan Civil War that was instigated by renegade General Khalifa Haftar in 2014.

This research explores VE in Libya in its historical and social context. More importantly, the research formulates a consistent strategy for countering violent extremism (CVE) based on some of the critical principles of bottom-up peacebuilding. The study's recommendations encapsulate a synthesis of nation-building, state-building, and peacebuilding programs to address the problem of VE in a sustainable and locally-oriented approach. The objective of the strategies offered in this study is to expose both the individuals and the structural sources that paved the way for the emergence of VE in Libya.


Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context

Despite the preponderance of research on violent extremism and prevention and control policies in general, the key concepts generated by this discipline are problematic because they are often normatively loaded and empirically imprecise. To provide a better understanding of the subject of violent extremism, both scientific and in public policies, we have chosen to engage in dialogue within this webinar, researchers, stakeholders and practitioners whom we call “from the inside”, who question the construction of radicalization and violent extremism within political relations in the MENA region.

Our objective is to constitute a new and original approach, from the bottom, to understand the different realities of violence, radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism, by comparing, confronting and criticizing the different public policies and the different approaches implemented to tackle the phenomenon of violent extremism in the studied states. Beyond radicalization and violent extremism, the question of civil, armed, military and political engagement and participation since the Arab revolts will be posed in an articulation between the local, the national and the global.

We seek to understand how the relations between political actors within states located in the MENA region are articulated with regional issues; how past and present political conflicts are played out between national actors and permanently redraw the map of political and community affiliations, both in discourse and in practice. Local, national and regional contexts will thus be studied as catalysts for political relations between (state and non-state) actors in the region.

Webinar format and research axes

On the basis of a meeting every three weeks, we will meet starting from April 2021 around a communication based on a country research work, complemented by the intervention of an activist, practitioner or stakeholder shedding light on the issues raised, and leaving plenty of room for collective discussion.

Several themes and areas of research will be addressed during the sessions:

Area 1. Commitment, governance and policies

  • Militant careers, how does one become a political actor in this region of the world? What is political activism built on or what is the trajectory of political actors in the countries of the region?
  • The relations between dominant political actors, the opposition and marginalization?
  • Relationship between political institution, partisan institution and religious institution (duplication, alliances, conflicts…)?
  • Modes of government, political discourse and practices…

Area 2. Law, fight against terrorism and penitentiary institution

  • The impact of anti-terrorism laws on the treatment of violent extremism and on the organization of prisons: emergence, strengthening and extension of a specific legal framework reconfiguring the relations between justice, police, army and intelligence.

Area 3. media treatment of political and power relations

Area 4. Citizenship vs. sectarianism: public action, self-awareness, new ways of participation and political organization

The webinar will be held in the three languages, Arabic, English and French.

Session 1

April, 22th from 5:00 to 6:30 PM CET

Virtual Citizenship: Saudis in Clubhouse by Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed

Session 2

May, 6th from 5:00 to 6:30 PM CET

Interventions by Iyad Kallas and Wassim Naboulsi


Steering Committee


In partnership with Ifpo.


The PAVE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870769.
The content provided in this webinar reflects the author’s views only. Neither the Research Executive Agency (REA) nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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PAVE Project | Webinar

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PAVE | Preventing and Addressing Violent Extremism through Community Resilience in the Balkans and MENA
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