Libya needs help

The most meaningful support the U.S. could provide at this time is to help Libya care for its many wounded citizens. From our visit to the hospital, it is clear that Libya does not have the capacity to care for such a large number of wounded, many requiring advanced treatment and prosthetics. Indeed, this is such a priority that the TNC told us they would be willing to draw on the more than $150 billion in Libya’s frozen assets to reimburse the U.S. for the costs of this humanitarian assistance. To this end, we should consider deploying a hospital ship, such as the USNS Comfort, to Libya or Malta. Another option could be to transport Libyans in need of advanced care to U.S. medical facilities in Europe.

We can also help Libya lay the foundation for sustainable security. This requires safeguarding the immense stockpiles of weapons and dangerous materials that exist across the country. It also requires bringing Libya’s many militias under the TNC’s civilian authority, and working toward their demobilization, disarmament and reintegration into Libyan society. We and our allies should encourage this peaceful process as much as we can, and oppose external efforts to pick winners who would advance factional or ideological interests through force.

Many Libyans recognize that they need a new civilian-led national army and police force. The TNC has asked the U.S., perhaps together with our Arab partners, to help train this new security force. American involvement in a small training mission could help Libya build a professional security force that contributes to national unity and forms the basis of our future security cooperation. Here, too, the TNC offered to reimburse the costs of our efforts.

American support is also important for Libya’s democratic transition.