Tag: <span>Libya</span>

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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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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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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