Lawless Skies: Airstrikes and Civilian Casualties in Libya

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In 2011, NATO intervened during a national uprising in Libya to protect civilians from the forces of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi. Today, the environment remains chaotic. At least four countries and two Libyan armies have continued to carry out airstrikes since the end of the NATO intervention.

New America and Airwars, the UK-based airstrike monitoring group, investigated those strikes and published our findings in the paper “Air Strikes and Civilian Casualties in Libya,” co-authored by Peter Bergen, Vice President at New America, and director of New America’s International Security Program (ISP) and Alyssa Sims, a policy analyst in ISP. New America and Airwars documented more than 2,000 airstrikes that were reportedly conducted between September 2012 to June 2018 in Libya. According to news reports and accounts on social media, at least 242 civilians were killed in these strikes, taking the lowest estimate, and as many as 392 killed, by the highest estimate. This study is the first accounting of these civilian deaths.

To discuss the results of the study and the political environment in Libya, New America welcomes Jonathan M. Winer, the State Department’s Special Envoy for Libya during the Obama administration, Chris Woods, an investigative journalist and the director of Airwars, Oliver Imhof, a Libya researcher and data analyst, and Alyssa Sims.


Jonathan M. Winer, @jonathanmwiner
Former U.S. Special Envoy for Libya
Scholar, Middle East Institute

Chris Woods, @chrisjwoods
Investigative journalist, Director, Airwars

Oliver Imhof, @oimho
Libya researcher and data analyst, Airwars


Alyssa G. Sims, @AGSims1
Policy Analyst, New America International Security Program