Tag: <span>Egypt</span>

Yemen Appeals

Yemen: Positive Action Still Needed.

Featured Image: The UK hosted the Friends of Yemen meeting on 27 September 2012 in New York alongside co-hosts the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen. The meeting was attended by 38 States and International Organisations. Foreign Secretary William Hague with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, President Hadi and Vice Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Dr. Torki Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Kabir. By English: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, OGL v1.0OGL v1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Picture by Carl G. Friedrich

25 March is the anniversary date of the start of 28 days on continued bombing of Yemen in 2015 by the Saudi-Arabia-led coalition (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, United Arab Emirates helped by arms and “intelligence” by the U.S.A. and the U.K.). The aggression by the Saudi coalition turned what had been an internal struggle for power going on from the “Arab Spring” of 2011 into a war with regional dimensions which brought Iran into the picture. The role of Iran has been exaggerated both by the Iranian government itself and by those hostile to Iran. Nevertheless, the Iranian role is real.

Arab Spring

Arab spring participants (2020). By Paulinabial, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Since the Association of World Citizens (AWC) had been following possible constitutional developments in Yemen after the 2011 change of government, a couple of days after the 25 March 2015 bombing, the Association of World Citizens sent to government Missions to the United Nations an AWC Appeal for:

Four steps of conflict resolution and negotiations in good faith:

  1.  An immediate ceasefire ending all foreign military attacks.
  2. Humanitarian assistance, especially important for hard-to-reach zones.
  3. A broad national dialogue.
  4. Through this dialogue, the establishment of an inclusive unity government open to constitutional changes to facilitate better the wide geographic- tribal structure of the State.

Six-Region Federation as the Political Structure for Yemen.

While the constitutional form of the State structures depends on the will of the people of Yemen ( if they were able to express themselves freely) the Association of World Citizens proposes consideration of con-federal forms of government which maintain cooperation within a decentralized framework. In 2014, a committee appointed by the then President, Abdu Rabbu Mansur Hadi, had proposed a six-region federation as the political structure for Yemen.

Until 1990, Yemen was two separate States: the People’s Democratic of Yemen in the south with Aden as the capital, and the Yemen Arab Republic in the north with Sana’a as capital. In 1990, the two united to become the Republic of Yemen. The people in the south hoped that the union would bring the economic development which had been promised.

Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi

Sitting down for a meeting, Yemen President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi listens as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel welcomes him to the Pentagon July 30, 2013. By U.S Defense Department, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

South Arabia.

Since, even before the Saudi-led war began, there had been very little economic and social development in the south, there started to grow strong “separatist” attitudes in the south. People of all political persuasions hoped to develop prosperity by ending unification and creating what some have started calling “South Arabia” Today, these separatist attitudes are very strong, but there is no agreement on what areas are to be included in a new southern state, and the is no unified separatist political leadership.

Very quickly after 25 March 2015, many governments saw the dangers of the conflict and the possible regional destabilization. Thus there were U.N.-sponsored negotiations held in Geneva in June 2015. The Association of World Citizens worked with other NGOs so that women should be directly involved in such negotiations.

However women have not been added to any of the negotiations and are largely absent from any leadership role in the many political factions of the country. There have been U.N. mediators active in trying to get ceasefires and then negotiations. There have been some temporary ceasefires, but no progress on real negotiations.

Saudi Arabia and Iran under the sponsorship of the People’s Republic of China.

Today, the war continues with the country’s fragmentation, continued internal fighting and impoverishment leading to a disastrous humanitarian crisis. There is a glimmer of possible conflict resolution efforts due to the recent mutual recognition of Saudi Arabia and Iran under the sponsorship of the People’s Republic of China. However, creating a national society of individuals willing to cooperate will not be easy. Regional divisions will not be easy to bridge. There have already been divisions within the Saudi-led Coalition. Thus, positive action is still needed. Non-governmental organizations should seek to have their voices heard.

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

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nuclear weapon Appeals

Steps Toward Security in the Middle East.

Featured Image: Photo by Ilja Nedilko on Unsplash.

“The struggle against the nuclear weapon cult and threats it poses to international peace, security and development, like all struggles against belief systems which have outlived their times, is going to be long and arduous”   

K. Subrahmanyal. Nuclear Proliferation and Internationsal Securtiy.

 
    The U.N. Conference on the Establishlent of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction took place at the U.N. in New York, 29 November to 3 December 2021.
The Conference is open-ended – that is open to those States that wish to attend – with a mandate provided by General Assembly Resolution A/73/546 to continue meeting annually:
 

“until the confernce concludes the elaboration of a legally binding treaty establishing a Middle East Zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”

The first session was held 18-22 November 2019.

K. Subrahmanyam
 K. Subrahmanyam (2010). By MarcEduard, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
The process will not be easy in an area where armed conflicts exist and are undermining stablity. There are very real concerns concerning nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Regional conflicts could unleash a nuclear war through escalation of a conventional war, miscalculation or delibeate pre-emptive attack. This is the second time that the conference is held.  The 22 countries of the Arab League and Iran participated as did the U.K. and Russia.  Israel and the U.S.A. did not.  While the difficulties are real, the Conference provides opportunities for governments of the region to share perspectives, consider proposals and look at the institutional requirements to establish such a zone.
 
    While non-governmental organization representatives cannot participate as such in the Conference, a nuclear-weapon free zone is of vital interest to those organizations working on arms control, disarmament, and regional conflict resolution.
 
The Arab League
Emblem of the League of Arab States (2008). By Jeff Dahl, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
   
The idea of a Middle East nuclear-free zone was first put forth by a non-governmental organization, the Israeli Committee of the Denuclearization of the Middle East in April 1962.  Non-governmental organizations, often working closely with the United Nations disarmament secretariat, have played a role in the creation of regional nuclear-weapon free zones starting with the Treaty of the Tlatelolco for Latin America, after the dangers highlighted by the Cuban Missile Crisis.
 
As the “father” of the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco the Mexican Ambassador Alfonso Garcia Robles explained the concept of nuclear-weapon free zones as a step toward global disarmament:
 

“We should attempt to achieve a gradual broadening of the zones of the world from which  nuclear weapons are prohibited to a point where the territories of Powers which possess these terrible tools of mass destruction will become something like contaminated islets subjected to quarantine.”

Alfonso Garcia Robles
Alfonso Garcia Robles (1981). By Marcel Antonisse, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
    Non-governmental organizations have proposed that the following States be included in the Middle East process: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, the Palistinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen.  In looking at the list of potential members, we see that a nuclear-weapon free zone is not the only issue on the political agenda.  We also see that the possibilities of action for non-governmental organizations to work on security issues is not the same in each country.  There is deep mistrust and rivalries among many of these States.
 
    Thus, it is probably necessary for non-governmental organizations outside of the area to organize what are called Track II initiatives – a non-official way to discuss regional security issues and to provide policy advice to governments.  A first step is to identify opportunities,  areas of mutual interest, and then to make recommendations where progress can be made and where governmental diplomatic efforts could be made.  Civil society organizations can also reach out to youth in the Middle East who are interested in creating positive changes with in the region.
 
    A first opportunity to present proposals to government representatives will be the Review Conference on the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT Review) to be held at the U.N. in New York during this January 2022. Nuclear-weapon free zones as well as the needed confidence-building measures have provided an important focus of earlier NPT Reviews. 
 
The Association of World Citizens has stressed the importance of Nuclear-weapon Free Zones at earlier NPT Reviews and will do so again for the January 2022 Review.
 
 
  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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Nagorno-Karabakh Appeals

Nagorno-Karabakh: Continuing Repercussions in Armenia.

This map describes the current situation in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but mostly governed by the de facto independent state, Republic of Artsakh. Image is a modified version of MarshallBagramyan’s map. File:Artsakh Occupation Map.png, Author:Elnur Hajiyev.

The November 2020; ceasefire agreement signed among the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia has provided some stability for the Nagorno-Karabakh area.  The 2000; Russian military dispatched quickly to the area has brought an end to the fighting.  The agreement stated that the Russian forces would stay for five years; but that their posting could be extended depending on the political situation.

When the fighting began on 27 September 2020; The Association of World Citizens;  which has been concerned with Nagorno-Karabakh; since the 1992 armed conflict; sent an urgent Appeal to the authorities of Azerbaijan and Armenia urging a ceasefire and the start of negotiations in good faith.  A follow up message was sent to the Ambassadors to the United Nations of the leadership of the Minsk Group of the OSCE (Russia, France, U.S.A.).

Azerbaijan-Turkish Aggression.

In Azerbaijan; the fighting which led to the ceasefire is widely considered as a “victory”; and has increased the popularity of the Azerbaijan President Iham Aliev.  However in Armenia; the fighting which led to a loss of seven districts around Nagorno-Karabakh; as well as one third of the Karabakh territory is considered as a “defeat”.

The Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pachinian; is under heavy negative pressure with calls that he resign.  In Armenia; many refer to the fighting as the “Azerbaijan-Turkish Aggression” – an image recalling the Armenian genocide within the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916.  Turkey had provided weapons and drones to Azerbaijan; which had an influence on the fighting.

 

No Longer Able to Make Reasonable Decisions.

On 25 February; the leaders of the Armenian armed forces demanded that the Prime Minister, Nikol Pachinian; and his whole cabinet resign.  The army had said a few days earlier; that the Prime Minister was “no longer able to make reasonable decisions”; after he had fired some of the top military commanders.

On 25 February; the Prime Minister warned of an attempted military coup; and called on his supporters to gather on Republic Square at the heart of Yerevan.  A good number of people have gathered on 26 February; and some plan to camp there as a form of protection on the model of such “Occupy” efforts in Turkey, Ukraine, Egypt and Wall Street. One must hope that cooler heads will arise to bring about a decrease in the tensions; but it is still too early to say.

A situation which merits close attention.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.