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Corker Opening Statement at Hearing on "The Crisis in Libya: Next Steps and U.S. Policy Options"

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Hearing: The Crisis in Libya: Next Steps and U.S. Policy Options

April 25, 2017

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Chairman

Opening Statement

In today’s hearing, we’ll examine the crisis in Libya. I’d like to thank our witnesses for again appearing before the committee on this important issue.

Unfortunately, six years after the NATO intervention, Libya remains on the brink of civil war.

Like many of its neighbors, Libya failed to transition into the stable, representative democracy hoped for by its citizens following the Arab Spring. 

And sadly, it’s the Libyan people who have paid the price.

Fighting between militias has undermined internal security, weakened government institutions, and damaged the economy.

It is also posing substantial risks to the U.S and to our allies.

Infighting has created a permissive environment for terrorist groups like ISIS.

The organization’s gains in Libya led to U.S.-supported military operations last year in places like Sirte.

We’ve had some successes there, but the conditions allowing extremists to thrive remain.

I think many of us agree that the Libyan Political Agreement needs to be altered, as the current government lacks the power to actually govern the entire country.

But that’s only the beginning. Until the array of militias come under some type of central political control, no government will be able to provide essential services across the country.

And even then, Libya would still face enormous challenges to fix weak government institutions and turn around a struggling economy.

I look forward to our discussion today and hearing from our two witnesses on their views of the crisis and what needs to be done to bring about its peaceful resolution.

We would be particularly interested to hear your views on what the U.S. could do to help achieve these goals and what we should expect if ISIS or other radical groups regain ground in Libya.