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Unfinished RevolutionsYemen, Libya, and Tunisia after the Arab Spring$
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Ibrahim Fraihat

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300215632

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300215632.001.0001

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Civil Society Organizations

Civil Society Organizations

(p.189) Ten Civil Society Organizations
Unfinished Revolutions

Ibrahim Fraihat

Yale University Press

The chapter examines the role that civil society organizations (CSOs) can play as agents of reconciliation in societies undergoing transitions. Specifically, it finds that CSOs can create legitimacy and foster local ownership of peace processes. Turning to Tunisia, the chapter identifies three major CSO contributions: participation in the development of transitional justice law, the UGTT’s hosting of a representative national dialogue, and defusing of a major political crisis by mediating a compromise. In the case of Libya, civil society was stunted by Qaddafi, but hundreds of new CSOs have now formed. In some instances they have helped to restore security and order where Qaddafi’s fall resulted in a power vacuum. The chapter describes the Wisemen and Shura Council’s mediation of tribal conflicts and the Society of Understanding and National Reconciliation’s provision of humanitarian aid to needy communities. Despite their value, the chapter argues that CSOs are ultimately limited and are not and should not be substitutes for the state or political parties.

Keywords:   Libya, Tunisia, Civil society, Mediation, Peacebuilding, Development

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