Libya Tribune

Frederic Wehrey discusses his forthcoming book on Libya.

By Ghida El-Tayara

Frederic Wehrey is a senior fellow in the Carnegie Middle East program who specializes in post-conflict transitions, armed groups, and identity politics, with a focus on Libya, North Africa, and the Gulf.

He is the author of the upcoming The Burning Shores: Inside the Battle for the New Libya (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which will be published in April.

Wehrey also recently published an edited book, titled Beyond Sunni and Shia: The Roots of Sectarianism in a Changing Middle East (Oxford University Press).

He was in Beirut in early February to participate in a Carnegie roundtable at which he talked about Libya’s policing sector, a topic he partly covered in his most recent article for Diwan, “The Sufi-Salafi Rift,” co-authored with Katherine Pollock.

Diwan met with him then to discuss his forthcoming book.

The Burning Shores: Inside the Battle for the New Libya

A riveting, beautifully crafted account of Libya after Qadhafi.

The death of Qadhafi freed Libya from forty-two years of despotic rule, raising hopes for a new era. But in the aftermath, the country descended into bitter rivalries and civil war, paving the way for the Islamic State and a catastrophic migrant crisis.

In a fast-paced narrative that blends frontline reporting, analysis, and history, Frederic Wehrey tells the story of what went wrong.

An Arabic-speaking Middle East scholar, Wehrey interviewed the key actors in Libya and paints vivid portraits of lives upended by a country in turmoil:

(a) the once-hopeful activists murdered or exiled,

(b) revolutionaries transformed into militia bosses or jihadist recruits, and

(c) an aging general who promises salvation from the chaos in exchange for a return to the old authoritarianism.

He traveled where few Westerners have gone, from the shattered city of Benghazi, birthplace of the revolution, to the lawless Sahara, to the coastal stronghold of the Islamic State in Qadhafi’s hometown of Sirte.

He chronicles the American and international missteps after the dictator’s death that hastened the country’s unraveling.

Written with bravura, based on daring reportage, and informed by deep knowledge, TheBurning Shores is the definitive account of Libya’s fall.

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