Building peace in Libya : UK assistance to foreign Security Sector Reform

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Abstract: Security Sector Reform (SSR) has been established as a powerful tool in achieving sustainable peace in post-conflict countries, a belief which has strengthened since the events of September 11th 2001, and the subsequent war on terror which has seen both the UK and US heavily involved in peacebuilding operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. However there is a concern that following these experiences, SSR has become little more than a process of building the military capacity of recipient countries in order to meet the immediate security needs of donor states. If this is true, then it could be interpreted as a regression in security thinking, where policy makers are focusing once again on state-centric notions of security as opposed to a new security thinking which considers the human security of all. This Master thesis seeks to investigate the current security thinking behind the United Kingdom’s policies with regard to assisting foreign states in their attempts at Security Sector Reform. Research, in the form of a qualitative content analysis within a case study, was conducted in order to gain an understanding of the UK’s overall assistance strategy in a real world context by identifying specific actions carried out by the UK as part of their involvement in the new Libyan Governments SSR process. These findings were then compared to an internationally recognised standard built on a holistic and long-term understanding of SSR in an analytical process in order to make interpretations and draw conclusions. In conclusion, the UK’s assistance strategy can be considered holistic and long-term; centred on building strategic influence within the new Libyan Governments security apparatus in order to effectively advocate the implementation of democratic reform and a human rights based approach to future SSR. However, that the UK is actively providing arms to Libya, despite the concerns of potentially fuelling conflict, leaves one to question how far new security thinking has really permeated British policy making.

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