Month: <span>April 2021</span>

Mother Earth Education of World Citizenships.

The Day of Mother Earth: Living in Harmony with…

Photo by Ben Tarver on Unsplash
Basaseachi Waterfall, Cuauhtémoc City, Mexico.

International Mother Earth Day on 22 April each year was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009.  Its aim is to promote living in harmony with Nature and to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.  The concept of living in harmony with Nature was seen by the U.N. delegates as a way “to improve the ethical basis of the relationship between humankind and our planet.” It is the biosphere we all belong to which is becoming the common heritage of mankind which we must defend.

Mother Earth

The term “Mother Earth” is an expression used in different cultures to symbolize the inseparable bonds between humans and Nature. Pachamama is the term used in the Andean cultures of South America. The Earth and the ecosystem is our home. We need to care for it as a mother is supposed to care for her children and the children to show love and gratitude in return. However, we know from all the folk tales of the evil stepmother as well as the records of psychoanalytic sessions that mother-children relations are not always relations of love, care and gratitude. Thus to really live in harmony with Nature requires deep shifts in values and attitudes, not just “sustainable development” projects.

The United Nations.

The United Nations began its focus on ecological issues with the preparations for the 1972 Conference in Stockholm and has continued with the 1992 Rio Declaration followed by the Rio plus 20 conference 20 years later.  However the concept of living in harmony with Nature is relatively new as a U.N. political concept. Yet it is likely to be increasingly a theme for both governmental policy making and individual action.

As Rodney Collin wrote in a letter “It is extraordinary how the key-word of harmony occurs everywhere now, comes intuitively to everyone’s lips when they wish to express  what they hope for.  But I feel that we have hardly yet begun to study its real meaning. Harmony is not an emotion, an effect.  It is a whole elaborate science, which for some reason has only been fully developed in the realm of sound.  Science, psychology and even religion are barely touching it as yet.”  (1)

Resolutions in the U.N. General Assembly can give a sense of direction. They indicate that certain ideas and concepts are ready to be discussed at the level of governments. However, a resolution is not yet a program of action or even a detailed framework for discussion. “Living in harmony with Nature” is at that stage on the world agenda. As Citizens of the World, we strive to develop an integrated program of action.

   Notes

1) His letters have been assembled after his death by his wife into a book:

     Rodney Collin. The Theory of Conscious Harmony  (Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 1958)

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

Diplomacy Appeals

Track Two Diplomacy and Beauty as a Bridge.

Photo by  Anfaenger in Pixabay 

By Rene Wadlow.

Only the bridge of Beauty will be strong enough for crossing 
from the bank of darkness to the side of light. 
Nicolas Roerich (1874 – 1947)

There is a growing interest in the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations and the U.N.’s Specialized Agencies such as UNESCO. Through time and persistent effort, NGO representatives have developed a structured role for themselves in such fields as human rights, ecology, and humanitarian relief.

The role of the NGO representative is to influence policies through participation in the entire policy-making process from the initial raising of an issue or proposal through the final voted resolution and the start of the application. What distinguishes the NGO representative’s role at the U.N. from lobbying at the national level is that one may appeal to and discuss with the representatives of many different governments. While some government representatives may be unwilling to consider the ideas of anyone other than the mandate that they receive from the Foreign Ministry, others are more open. Out of the more than 100 States usually present at most U.N. meetings, the NGO representative will find some who share a common policy outlook or who are seeking additional information on which to take a decision. These non-governmental efforts are increasingly called “Track Two diplomacy.”

Track One diplomacy is official government negotiations with their backup resources of research and intelligence agencies’ resources. Many governments also have news or information services who present the government’s views and usually analyze the foreign press and media. Many governments also have cultural bodies to present national cultures and are often in touch with cultural workers in other countries.

Track Two efforts are becoming increasingly important in world politics.

Track Two diplomacy is citizen-based efforts through research, dialogue, mediation, and collaborative relations. No non-governmental organization has the resources of a government. Thus NGOs must often work together in trans-frontier alliances. However, Track Two efforts are becoming increasingly important in world politics for two reasons. First, increasingly armed conflicts exist between a government and one or more armed movements as we see in Yemen, the Kurds in Syria or with the ethnic minorities in Myanmar. Governments are often reluctant to negotiate openly with armed groups fearing to give them legitimacy or fearing to encourage other such armed movements. Yet a peace agreement requires discussions with such groups. Talks can be carried on in unofficial ways which governments can deny later if needs be. (1)

The second area is illustrated by the UNESCO-led International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) in which the Association of World Citizens has been active. Culture is usually broader and more diverse than that promoted by national cultural agencies such as the Confucius Institutes closely related to the Chinese government’s views on which elements of Chinese culture should be stressed. We can also recall the 1950s-McCarthy period in the U.S.A. when “subversive books” were to be taken out of the libraries of the U.S. cultural centers abroad.

Concept of Beauty.

Thus the need for a broad concept of beauty. Beauty can bring out in the individual sentiments of awe, of compassion, of the spiritual in life. One such example was the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim with musicians from Israel, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Spain – Spain in honor of the creative co-existence of Christian, Islamic and Jewish culture at one stage of Spain’s history.

Music, dance and painting are wordless and thus can touch a part of human consciousness that can be blocked by words. While the bridge of beauty does not overcome political divisions in the short run, beauty can open dimensions of the person not reached by economic gain or political calculations.

 

Note.

1) see P. Willets (Ed). The Conscience of the World. The Influence of Non-Governmental Organizations in the UN System (London: Hurst, 1996)
W.E. De Mars. NGOs and Transnational Networks (London: Pluto Press, 2005).

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

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Ukraine Appeals

Saber Rattling Along the Frontiers of Ukraine

Photo by  jorono in Pixabay

By Rene Wadlow.

16 Apr 2021 – The meeting today in Paris of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the French President Emmanuel Macron highlights the tensions between Ukraine, the separatist regions of Donbass and Luhansk and the Russian Federation.  France and Germany are the lead mediators in what is called the “Normandy Initiative” for resolution of the Ukraine-Donbass-Russia conflict.

Tensions have grown recently with increased violence along the lines of contact between Ukraine and Donbass and the increased number of Russian troops along the frontier. It is likely that the change in presidential administration in the U.S.A. is one aspect of this increase in tensions.  Both the U.S.A. and Russia want to remind each other that they are there. In the background is the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO which obviously Russia wants to avoid. Also in the background is the Ukrainian government’s recent approval of a “Strategy for Deoccupation and Reintegration of Crimea” and its Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

While it is unlikely that there will be an escalation of violence with an entry of Russian troops into Ukraine or the reverse, an attack on Russian soil, saber rattling can get out of hand and lead to unforeseen consequences.

The question which faces us as peace-builders is “What can we do?” to help reduce these tensions. The Association of World Citizens sent this past week an Appeal for increased mediation efforts to the authorities of the Normandy Initiative, France and Germany. It is certain that the French and German diplomats are already aware of the dangers of the situation, but it is useful that non-governmental voices be heard.  Are there avenues for Track II exchanges or non-governmental mediation efforts?  Related areas of tension are also in flux: Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh.  We need to see what doors might open, and what we can usefully propose.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Apr 2021.

René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

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Association of World Citizens Appeals

The Association Of World Citizens – Libya Appeal

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash.

The Association  of World Citizens calls for a ceasefire in Libya, the respect of international  Humanitarian Law and the start of negotiations  in good  faith on the future Constitutional Structure of the State.

The Association of World Citizens, responding to calls for assistance from persons displaced and in danger of bomb attacks by the fighting in and around Tripoli, calls for an immediate ceasefire so that humanitarian aid can be provided, and lives saved.

Fighting began on 4 April 2019 and is continuing led  by the forces of General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army;  opposed by local militias under the control of the Government of National,  Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. The fighting is likely to lead to increased violations of the laws of war;  especially attacks upon civilians and medical facilities.

United Nations Mediators.

The Association of World Citizens  urges that negotiations under the leadership of United Nations mediators;  originally to be held April 14-16, be undertaken with a range of participants as wide as possible. New and appropriate constitutional structures are needed for the administration of a complex and diversified State. The Association of World Citizens ; has proposed the possibility of con-federal administrative structures for the State.

The Association of World Citizens:  had been concerned with human rights and freedom of expression in Libya during the time of the leadership of Mu’ammar Gaddafi and has continued to be concerned with the fate of the people of Libya since his death in 2011.

Displacement of Some 94,000 People.

The new round of fighting within Tripoli and 8 conflict-affected municipalities in the Tripoli District has caused the displacement of some 94,000 people, between 4 April and 10 June according to U.N. estimates. In addition;  there are thousands of refugees and migrants in Libya, most coming from African countries.  Some 4000 are held in detention centers,  waiting for voluntary repatriation or deportation. Many others live outside these detention centers;  often in very poor conditions.

Now is the time for responsible action,  by all parties for an end to the fighting and the start of negotiations in good faith.

By Dr. Rene Wadlow, President of the Association of World Citizens.

 

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Libya Appeals

Libya: The Fairy Godmothers hoping to bless a new…

Photo by Levin on Unsplash

by Rene Wadlow.

The Fairy Godmothers of world politics met in Berlin,  on 19 January 2020 to assist at the birth of a State structure arising,  from the currently deeply divided factions of Libya: German Chancellor,  Angela Merkel and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,  were the co-hosts with the Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s Vladimer Putin, France’s Emmanuel Macron, the U.K.’s Bosis Johnson, the USA’s Mike Poupeo;  as well as the less easily recognized officials – Prime Minister of Italy, Giuseppe Corte;  and the representatives of China, Egypt, Algeria, and the United Arab Emirates.

There were also representatives of the major intergovernmental organizations involved in Libya: the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the League of Arab States.

The Berlin Conference.

The Final Document of the Berlin Conference is an effort to please all participants;  but in fact;  on the crucial issue of the creation of a functioning administration for Libya;  there was only a broad vision of a desirable future: a single, unified, inclusive, and effective Libyan government that is transparent, accountable, fair with equitable distribution of public wealth;  and resources between different Libyan geographic areas, including through decentralization and support for municipalities;  thereby removing a central grievance and cause of recrimination.

The creation of such State structures has been the chief issue since 1945;  when the Allies – Britain, the USA and the USSR – agreed that the Italian colonies should not be returned to Italy;  although Italian settlers were encouraged to stay. The Allies did not want to create the structures of the new State;  believing that this task should be done by the Libyans themselves. Also;  the three Allies disagreed among themselves as to the nature of the future State.

The Creation of a Libyan State.

By 1950-1951 with more crucial geopolitical issues elsewhere;  the Allies were ready for the creation of a Libyan State. It seemed that a monarchy was the most appropriate form of government;  as there were no structured political parties that could have created a parliamentary government.

Thus in 1951;  Idris was made the King of the State. Idris was the head of the Senussi Sufi Order;  created by his father. The Senussi Sufi Order had branches in most parts of the country. Idriss ruled the country as if it were a Sufi order;  and did little to structure non-religious political structures. Idris ruled until September 1969;  when he was overthrown by Muammg Qaddafi.

The Authority Of The People.

Qaddafi was also not interested in creating permanent political parties which;  he feared, might be used against him. He called himself “the Guide of the Revolution” not “President” and Libya became the Libyan Jamaihirya;  that is, the authority of the people.

The closest model to Qaddafi’s vision is a Quaker Meeting;  where decisions are taken by consensus and compromise at the local level. These decisions are then sent as recommendations to the next higher level;  where by consensus and compromise again a decision is taken. Ultimately, these decisions reach to the top of Libya;  and the “Guide” sees how they can be carried out.

The problem with the governance of Libya;  was that not everyone was a member of a Sufi order;  where the search for enlightenment in a spirit of love was the way decisions,  were to be made. Moreover, there were hardly any Libyan Quakers;  and compromise was not the chief model for the tribal and clanic networks;  which was how the country was structured under Qaddafi.

Field Marshall.

Since the overthrow and death of Qaddafi in 2011;  there has been no agreement on how the country should be structured. The model which is most likely to be followed is that of General Khalifa Haftar;  who now likes to be addressed as “Field Marshall”. The model is a military-based dictatorship with a small number of civilians as “window dressing”.

The model is well represented through the world although;  not always held up as a model form of government. Haftor holds a good bit of the Libyan territory;  although his hope of a quick victory over the “national unity” government in the capitol Tripoli has not been successful for the moment.

The National Unity Government.

The National Unity Government of Faiez Sarraj is a civilian-led government;  but heavily dependent for its survival on tribal militias. The model for the government is that of Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey;  with a certain ideological coloring from the Islamic Brotherhood;  originally from Egypt;  but whose ideology has spread.

What type of structures can be created between these two major models is not known. I would expect to see a Khalifa Haftar-led government;  with a few civilians brought in from the National Unity Government.

The Fezzan.

The only geographic area outside of the current Tripoli-centered conflict between Faiez Sarraj  and Khalifa Haftar is the area known as the Fezzan – the southwestern part of the country,  on the edge of the Sahara. The area was associated with the rest of the country during the period of King Idrass;  as there were a number of branches of his Sufi order in the oases;  where most of the 200,000 people in the area live, mostly date palm farmers.

Gaddafi largely left the area alone as there was little possibility of developing organized opposition. However, today;  the governmental neglect has opened the door to wide-spread smuggling of people, weapons and drugs. The Italian government in particular;  has drawn international attention to the lack of administration in the Fezzan;  as many of the African migrants;  who end up in Italy have passed through the Fezzan on their way to Europe.

The creation of highly decentralized governmental structures in Libya will not be easy. Nevertheless, such decentralized administration is key to the future;  and a challenge to all of us;  who want to see a peaceful and relatively just Libya;

 Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Ceasefire in Libya Appeals

Ceasefire in Libya: A Gift for U.N. Day?

Photo by  David Peterson in Pixabay.

(Geneva).   On Friday 23 October 2020;  Stephanie Williams;  the U.N. acting Special Envoy for Libya said that the  representatives of the parties in Geneva had agreed to a ceasefire starting 24 October;  U.N. Day.  All military units and armed groups on the front lines  are to return to their camps.   All mercenaries and foreign fighters in Libya;  are to depart  within a maximum period of three months;  from 24 October.

Both the Russians and the Turks have sent mercenaries to back their interests.  The Russians have used the “private” security firm Wagner;  first founded to back Russian interests in Ukraine.  The Turks have sent Syrian militias friendly to Turkey;  with promises of money and Turkish citizenship.

Since the outbreak of armed conflict on the outskirts of Tripoli on 3 April 2019;  many persons have been killed and wounded. Migrants and refugees;  being held in detention centers have suffered.  The humanitarian situation has degraded dramatically.  In the recent past; all the armed factions have violated the laws of war;  and have a sad record of abuses against civilians.

A Lightning War.

General Khalifa Hifter hoped his attack would be a blitzkrieg ( a lightning war). He badly underestimated;  he degree of military response that he would meet from the militias loyal to the Government of National Accord;  led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sariaj.

Libyan society faces large and complex issues  in order to create a stable administrative structure of government;  that takes into consideration the geographic and ethnic diversity of the country. There are three distinct regions;  which must have some degree of autonomy: Tripolitania and Cyrenaica;  both bordering the Mediterranean and Fezzan in the southern Sahara.  Within each of the three regions;  there are differing and often rival tribal societies which are;  in practice;  more kinship lines than organized tribes. (1)

There are differing economic interests and different ideologies ranging from “Arab Socialism” to the Islamist ideology of the Islamic State (ISIS);  which has spread from its Syrian-Iraqi base.  The Association of World Citizens has proposed the possibility of con-federal constitutional structures. However;  the first priority in the U.N.-led negotiations was to reach a ceasefire. We must hope that it will hold and that discussions on constitutional structures will follow.

Note

1) See J. Davis Libyan Politics Tribes and Revolution (London: L.R. Turis, 1987)

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Republic of Congo Appeals

Democratic Republic of Congo — Need for Reconciliation Bridge-Builders.

Photo by Kaysha on Unsplash

On bridges are stated the limits in tons

of the loads they can bear.

But I’ve never yet found one that can bear more

than we do. Although we are not made of roman freestone,

nor of steel, nor of concrete.

From “Bridges” – Ondra Lysohorsky

Translated from the Lachian by Davis Gill.

The killing on 22 February 2021 near Goma in Eastern Congo of the Italian Ambassador to the Congo has highlighted the continuing insecurity of the area and the need for renewed efforts at peacebuilding. The Ambassador of Italy, Luca Attanasio, was part of a two-car convoy of the U.N. World Food Program to visit a school meal program run by the Program which has recently been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The convoy was fired upon by a group of six individuals. The Ambassador and one of the drivers were killed.

At this stage, it is not known which of some 45 armed groups in the area carried out the attack and if the convoy was attacked because it was of the United Nations or if any two-car convoy would hve been attacked in the hope of looting the contents.  While the U.N. Secretary-General has called for an  investigation, an investigation is unlikely to be able to say more than that the whole area is unstable and that more than U.N. or Congolese grovernment troops are necessary to bring stability.

Armed Violence Continues.

Despite a new president of the Democratic Republic of Congo who promised to tackle poverty at its roots, armed violence continues.  Felix Tshisekedi, son of the late, long-time opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, put an end to the 18-year rule of Joseph Kabila.  However, in a number of provinces of the country, especially the east, armed violence continues between the army and different tribal-based militias.  In some area, war lords battle among themselves.

The United Nations has some 20:,000 peacemakers in Congo (MONUC), the UN’s  most numerous peacekeeping mission, but their capacity is stretched to the limit.  While MONUC has proven effective at securing peace in the Ituri district in north-eastern Congo, it has been much less successful in the two Kivu provinces.

The eastern area of Congo is the scene of fighting at least since 1998 — in part as a result of the genocide in neighboring Rwanda in 1994.  In mid-1994, more than one million Rwandan Hutu refugees poured into the Kivu provinces, fleeing the advance of the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front, now become the government of Rwanda.  Many of these Hutu were still armed, among them, the “genocidaire” who a couple of months before had led the killings of some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda.  They continued to kill Tutsi living in the Congo, many of whom had migrated there in the 18th century.

Techniques of Conflict Resolution.

The people in eastern Congo have lived together for many centuries and had developed techniques of conflict resolution, especially between the two chief agricultural lifestyles: that of agriculture and cattle herding.  However, the influx of a large number of Hutu, local political considerations, a desire to control the wealth of the area — rich in gold, tin and tropical timber — all these factors have overburdened the local techniques of conflict resolution and have opened the door to new, negative forces interested only in making money and gaining political power.

UN peace-keeping troops are effective when there is peace to keep.  What is required today in eastern Congo and in certain other parts of the country is not so much more soldiers under UN command, than reconciliation bridge-builders, persons who are able to restore relations among the ethnic groups of the area.  The United Nations, national governments, and non-governmental organizations need to develop bridge-building teams who can help to strengthen local efforts at conflict resolution and re-establishing community relations.  In the Kivu provinces, many of the problems arise from land tenure issues.  With the large number of people displaced and villages destroyed, it may be necessary to review completely land tenure and land use issues.

The Importance of Decentralization and Con-Federal Forms of Government.

The Association of World Citizens has stressed the need in States deeply divided on geographic and ethnic lines such as the Democratic Republic of Congo  to manage diversity as a strength rather than as a weakness..  There is often a tendency for leaders of States divided on ethnic lines to “over-centralize” the Administration in the hope of creating “national unity”.  In practice, such efforts at centralized government lead to some areas and some groups to feel marginalized or excluded.  In such cases armed violence seems to be the fastest  way to receive attention and to get “a share of the economic pie.”  Thus, the Association of World Citizens has stressed the importance of decentralization and con-federal forms of government as an alternative to the creation of new independent states which is often the first demand of marginalized areas.

World citizens were among those in the early 1950s who stressed the need to create UN peace-keeping forces with soldiers especially trained for such a task.  Today, a new type of world civil servant is needed — those who in areas of tension and conflict can undertake the slow but important task of restoring confidence among peoples in conflict, establishing contacts and looking for ways to build upon common interests.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Burma Appeals

Burma’s Military in a Political Hole.

Photo by Michael Pfister on Unsplash

By Rene Wadlow.

“An error is not a mistake unless you refuse to correct it”
John F. Kennedy

On Wednesday 31 March 2021, the United Nations Security Council met in a closed door session to continue its consideration of the violence in Myanmar. The participants heard a video message from the U.N.’s envoy to Myanmar who called on the Tatmadaw (the Myanmar Military Forces) to navigate an orderly and peaceful way out of the situation in which some 520 people have been killed by the military and some 2,800 people detained. How many are still detained is not fully known. Reporting from the area is difficult and uneven.

The Security Council repeated its earlier 10 March resolution against violence and calling for support for a democratic transition within the country. China is playing the key role within the Security Council but also in contacts with the military-led government which calls itself the State Administrative Council (SAC). China has a 2,227 kilometer border with Burma, and people move across this border with relative ease. Moreover, there are a good number of Chinese factories in Burma, companies that are closely related to Chinese-government owned conglomerates. There are also a good number of ethnic Chinese living in Burmese cities and larger towns, owning hotels, restaurants and shops. There have already been fires set in some of these Chinese-owned factories, but no group has taken responsibility for setting the fires. The fires are, nevertheless, an indication of growing anti-Chinese sentiment.

Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)

It has been said that the first rule when you find yourself in a political hole is to stop digging. Unfortunately, the military leadership since its 1 February coup has done all it could to make matters worse. As a result, there has grown among many different groups of the society a strong Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) which has shown tactical innovation and creativity. Women have been on the front lines of these non-violent protests to military rule. A raised three-finger salute, drawn from the Hunger Games has become the outward sign of opposition.

The ethnic minorities which have played a large, if often violent role in Burmese politics since independence in 1947 – the Kachin, Karen, Shan, Mon, Karenni, Ta’ang – are divided in their response to the new military-led government. Some, such as Karen and Kachin rebels have launched attacks against the military. Others are lying in wait to see what is going to happen. For a number of reasons, all the ethnic minorities are divided into factions, and there is rarely a collective response. A good number of the minority civilians have displaced themselves, seeking shelter along the borders.

The Situation in Myanmar.

An unintended consequence of the 1 February coup and the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and other National League for Democracy leaders has been to open the door to a younger generation of leadership, less linked to military families. While this younger generation is not contesting the leadership of the older generation, it is inevitable that a generation of people now in their 50s will come to the fore such as the Myanmar Ambassador to the U.N. in New York Kyaw Moe Tun who broke with the military in a dramatic presentation at a first 26 February Security Council discussion of the situation in Myanmar.

There are many aspects to the fast-moving situation in Myanmar. They merit watching closely.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Libya Appeals

New Start for Stability in Libya.

Photo by  jorono in Pixabay 

By Rene Wadlow.

The 74 members of the Libya Political Dialogue Forum meeting in Geneva, Switzerland;  with the mediation of the United Nations;  on 5 February 2021; announced the creation of a new executive authority for all of Libya.

This interim unity government would lead the administration until national elections; which are to be held on 24 December 2021. This interim executive authority has the mandate to fulfill the 23 October 2020 Cease-fire Agreement; which calls for a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of all foreign fighters.
This new interim executive authority by its membership; tries to build a balance among the three geographic divisions of the country. It also tries to build on new faces; which have been relatively not directly involved in the troubled situation since the 2011; end of the government of M. Qaddafi.

The new interim executive will have a three-person Presidency led by Mohammad Younes Memfi. He was born in 1958. He is an engineer and businessman from Misratia. Mohammad Younes Memfi  was educated in Canada and has not been directly involved in politics before. The other two members of the Presidency are Abdullah Hussein Al-Lafi; more involved in politics but not in the first ranks; and Mossa Al-Koni; an ethnic Tuareg from the south near the frontier with Mali. Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah will serve as Prime Minister under this new Presidency.

 

Colonel Moammar Qaddafi.

There is still a long road ahead to create meaningful reconciliation among the divisions; based on geography, tribal networks and religious brotherhoods. At Independence in 1951; authority rested with King Sayyid Idris (1890-1983); the leader of an important Islamic brotherhood; who remained more concerned with religious reforms than with the structure of the government. (1)

When the military officers; led by Colonel Moammar Qaddafi took power in a coup in September 1969; there was for a short time some discussion as to the forms that the government should take. Colonel Qaddafu wanted to do away with parliamentary government and representative elections; in favor or people’s committees; a people’s congress and revolutionary committees – all held together by the ideological assumptions of his Third Universal Theory – a concept that embodied anti-imperialism, Arab unity, Islamic socialism and direct popular democarcy. (2)

 

Imagen de WikiImages en Pixabay

Disagreements on the nature of the State; had led to important divisions among the ruling circle; especially in 1975.

However; all open discussions on the nature of the State; of the relations between State and society;  of the place of tribes and of religious brotherhoods were considered subversive; in fact treason. In practice; but not in theory; decision-making was in the hands of Colonel Qaddafi, his family, friends and tribal allies. (3)

Three Unstable Zones.

Since the end of the Qaddafi government; the country has been largely divided into three unstable zones: the West with Tripoli as the main city; with a “Government of National Accord” led by Faiez Sarraj; an East around Benghazi; with the “National Libyian Army” under General Khaifa Haftar; and the south divided among many political, tribal factions.

 

However; both the West and the East contain different armed tribal groups; Islamic militias and armed groups linked to the exploitation of migrants, traffick in arms and drugs. As the disorder dragged on; more and more outside States; became involved to different degrees and in different ways: Russia, Turkey, Egypt, France, the USA and to some extent the African Union.

To what extent the new interim authority will be able to create public services; limit outside influences and create appropriate forms of government will have to be seen. Libya merits close attention.

Notes.

1) For a useful analysis of Libyan governmental structures see J. Davis. Libyan Politics, Tribes and Revolution (London: I.B. Tauris, 1987)
2) See M.M. Ayoub. Islam and the Third Universal Theory: the religious thought of Muamar al Qudhakdhafi (London: Kegan Pail, 1987)
3) See Rene Lemarchand (Ed) The Green and the Black. Qadahafi’s Politics in Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988)

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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