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4/19/2017

Who Will Govern Libya Later This Year?



Πηγή: FAIR OBSERVER
By SHEHAB AL-MAKAHLEH
April 18 2017

Can Saif Gaddafi unite Libya with the support of the country’s numerous tribes?

Understanding the three key actors in the Libyan Civil War is critical during the coming months. Libyan National Army (LNA) Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is pushing his Operation Dignity forces to the west and south of the country. His goal is to dislodge the failing UN-mandated Government of National Accord (GNA) and the fractured General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli.

Former adviser to the deceased Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his cousin Ahmad Gaddaf al-Dam, is planning a return to Libya from his home in Egypt, and Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, who was released from prison least year, is now garnering tribal support for a potential national role.

In fact, recent developments in the beleaguered North African country reveal that preparations are underway for Gaddafi’s son Seif to be Libya’s next president following an interim period led by Haftar, with assistance from al-Dam. The tribes will be playing a key role in unifying the country behind these men.

These are not speculations. Indeed, al-Dam is currently preparing for his cousin, Seif, to have a say in the country’s political arena after ensuring the latter’s safety. Last summer, authorities released Gaddafi from prison after lifting his death sentence as a result of negotiations between Zintan authorities and the Gaddafi tribe.

LIBERATION

According to sources close to al-Dam, who is based in Egypt and pays frequent visits to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Gaddafi will soon deliver a speech to the people of Libya once the country is fully “liberated” from actors in the civil war that the Tobruk-based administration, which Haftar is loyal to, recognizes as terrorist groups.

This will be done with assistance from Cairo and Abu Dhabi and logistical support from both Russia and the US, the latter of which is to guard Libyan oil fields. These plans entail American oil companies developing Libyan oil wells, guarded by US military. Reportedly, Russia will train Libya’s armed forces.

Gaddafi and al-Dam are holding peace talks with major Libyan tribes. Haftar’s talks in Moscow earlier this year were aimed at rehabilitating the LNA and supplying it with Russian weapons. There are good odds that the tribes that stood by Gaddafi in the past will fully support the LNA’s fight against Salafist jihadist militias that have won control over parts of post-Gaddafi Libya. Al-Dam is now looking into the role that the tribal structure would play to achieve peace, stability and reconciliation in the country to reunify it after six years of violent unrest that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of Libyans dying and being displaced.

The sources also talk about the key points of Gaddafi’s upcoming speech that will address the situation in the country and the need for reunification in order to counter all potential risks and threats, as well as exert all efforts to rebuild the country, drawing from oil revenues. Gaddafi will also highlight the importance of having good relations with African states, countries in southern Europe, US and Russia.

Moscow has been playing both sides of the Libyan Civil War by maintaining ties with the Tripoli- and Tobruk-based governments that broke ranks in 2014, splitting the country between the west — Tripolitania, and east — Cyrenaica. Yet Russia may well determine that no Libyan civilians can effectively rule the North African country and that the authorities in Tobruk, under the leadership of Haftar — who may pave the way for Gaddafi — should receive the Kremlin’s all-out support. In the event that the ineffectual, albeit internationally recognized GNA, crumbles this year, such a scenario would become increasingly likely.

As of now, the Russians seem to trust Haftar and prefer dealing with the field marshal more than other Libyan officials. Although the Trump administration has yet lay out its vision for Libya, the Tobruk-based authorities are seeking to secure a commitment from the 45th American president that he’ll lend Haftar future US support.

On April 10, Haftar met with a high-ranking US military official in Abu Dhabi to discuss the topic. Although the US still, at least officially, recognizes the GNA as Libya’s legitimate government, the anti-Islamist composition of Trump’s administration and Haftar’s narrative about leading the struggle against terrorism and extremism in Libya may well convince to Washington withdraw its support for the Tripoli-based government and back its rival in the east.

TRIBAL LOYALTIES

Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter, Aysha, is ruled out of the presidential race as her brother Seif has a better chance of representing a united country upon receiving the full support and allegiance of Libyan tribes. With more than 140 tribes and clans, Libya is believed to be the most tribal nation in the Middle East, where every single tribe has a say in a future Libyan government. This is well understood by Gaddafi, Haftar and al-Dam.

The goal is to orchestrate an effort to allow Gaddafi to lead the nation with a full support of those tribes whose influence extends beyond Libyan borders, including Gaddadfa, Bani Salim, Bani Hilal, Warfallah, Kargala, Tawajeer, Ramla, Turareg and Magariha. For this purpose, meetings were held in western Libya, near the Algerian border, to discuss this matter.

Perhaps only Saif Gaddafi is capable of reuniting the country in spite of friction and violent conflict that tears Libya apart. There are indications that there is growing support for him among Libya’s main tribes. Those who fought against his father’s regime during the 2011 revolution may not agree with this solution. But whether those forces will overcome their divisions, which are playing out in deadly clashes in Tripoli, and unify enough to really have a say in this development remains doubtful.

In other words, infighting seems likely to overtake any unified attempt to counter Gaddafi’s ascent. Gaddafi is pushing a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to air grievances to bring the shattered country together. His policy also seeks, along with Haftar and al-Dam, the lifting of sanctions to release frozen funds from the Libyan Investment Authority and those owed to the Central Bank of Libya to give the economy a much needed boost.

The tribes have high stakes in the country’s future leadership. The coming few weeks will witness many developments, starting with the trips that Haftar and al-Dam will pay to a Egypt, Russia and the UAE after they are given a carte blanche by the tribes who will voice their allegiance to Gaddafi to be the next Libyan leader.


3/27/2017

Responsibility to Protect Justified Imperialist Goals in Libya

Destruction in Benghazi, Libya in July 2015 after fighting between pro-government forces and an alliance of former anti-Gadhafi rebels. | Photo: Reuters

Πηγή: telesur
March 18 2017


Libya is a striking example of the humanitarian norm being used selectively to justify a breach of sovereignty and foreign intervention.


March 19 marks six years since the United States began its “humanitarian intervention” in Libya with the help of NATO. Amid the Arab Spring uprisings against authoritarian governments in the region, intervention in Libya was justified under the concept of “responsibility to protect.” The intervention ended in regime change, leaving many critical that the norm was abused for imperialist means, rather than humanitarian sentiments.

The Responsibility to Protect, otherwise known as “R2P,” aims to prevent human rights abuses, genocide and war crimes through international response. This principle justifies intervention in another sovereign state based on moral grounds.

Critics, however, have argued that R2P has commonly been used as a means to serve the foreign policy interests of Western powers. Policy analyst David Rieff has referred to R2P as a “two-tiered system of interveners and intervened upon,” which is dictated by the rules of historically imperialist powers.

“For those of us who feared that R2P was just a warrant for war, our fears have been vindicated,” said Rieff to the Economist at the time of the NATO intervention in Libya.

According to the R2P norm, a sovereign state is responsible for protecting its own citizens and preventing atrocities, and the international community also has a responsibility to step in when a state fails to protect its citizens. But this should only occur when all other diplomatic options have been exhausted and military action should be a last resort, according to the R2P doctrine.

However, this concept actually leads to an asymmetrical system with imperialist overtones, according to Ugandan political commentator, Mahmood Mamdani, who argues that through the language of R2P, non-Western countries are more often defined as rogue or failed states and singled out for intervention.

Furthermore, Mamdani argues that states earmarked for outside intervention on humanitarian grounds are seen not as “active agents in their own emancipation, but as passive beneficiaries of an external ‘responsibility to protect,’” which is seen largely as a “legitimate exercise.”

“The result is once again a bifurcated system whereby state sovereignty obtains in large parts of the world but is suspended in more and more countries in Africa and the Middle East,” Mamdani wrote in 2010.

In the case of Libya, the R2P concept was used by the UN Security Council to condemn Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, impose sanctions and then justify intervention into the country by “all necessary means” to protect civilians. There was concern that unrest and violence under Gadhafi would lead to serious human rights abuses. Others, however, have argued that the NATO intervention was more about wanting to control Libyan oil, than it was for humanitarian motives.

Well before the Security Council resolutions, Gadhafi had been demonized by the West as an evil authoritarian dictator. Already wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, Gadhafi had long been accused of losing his legitimacy for slaughtering his own people.

Professor of African American Studies and Political Science Horace Campbell, explains that amid the demonization of Gadhafi’s regime, “The Security Council authorization was stretched from a clear and limited civilian protection mandate into a military campaign for regime change and the execution of the President of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi.”

Campbell argues that Gadhafi’s rule should have been condemned, but the guise of humanitarian intervention from NATO also should have been opposed. He criticized the organization as “the instrument through which the capitalist class of North America and Europe seeks to impose its political will on the rest of the world, however warped by the increasingly outmoded neoliberal form of capitalism.”

One of the major players pushing for R2P-style intervention in Libya was former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her decision was likely influenced by international criticism for the failure to prevent the Rwandan genocide in 1994 under then-president Bill Clinton, a tragic miscalculation which many see as a key example of the importance of acting on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine.

But the Libya intervention overstepped the bounds of R2P and soon morphed into a full-blown military operation. While speed was seen as critical in Libya, the intervention dragged on for more than seven months and ended with the killing of Gadhafi.

Clinton adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, only 11 days into the intervention wrote that the “humanitarian motive offered is limited, conditional and refers to a specific past situation,” as revealed in the infamous Benghazi email leaks.

The push for international intervention in Libya was not without dissent. In particular, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — known as the BRICS countries — were concerned as to how exactly an R2P-style intervention would be carried out, particularly when ceasefire offers were rejected and Libyan rebel forces were given support.

As former Australian Foreign Minister and one of the primary architects behind the original R2P norm, Gareth Evans noted in 2012, “The BRICS complaints were not about the initial military response, but what came shortly after, when it became clear that the U.S., Britain and France were set on regime change.”

President Obama defended the intervention in March 2011, saying that "when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act," while also claiming that "we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world's many challenges."

Many countries, even those who voted in favor of the resolution, became concerned as the conflict dragged on, unaware that the intervention would be so devastating.

Obama later admitted in April 2016 that the intervention which ousted Gadhafi and subsequently threw Libya into chaos was the worst mistake of his presidency.


8/08/2016

Siemens to take part in Crimea power project in spite of sanctions



Πηγή: NewEurope
By Dan Alele
August 8 2016

Siemens is ready to build part of a power plant in Crimea, in spite of the European and international embargo.

According to an investigation by Reuters, the builders of two power plants in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory Crimea have finalised plans to install turbines made by a joint venture of Siemens.
Siemens says its joint venture is only for making turbines for a separate plant on Russia’s Taman peninsula, which is separated from Crimea by a strait, but not for plants inside in Crimea itself.

However, three separate sources told Reuters that two power plants in Crimea are being built to house Siemens turbines. The sources, who are all familiar with the technical details of the plants, said they are compatible only with Siemens turbines.

The sources include one person involved in the plant project itself, one employee of a company working alongside state builder Technopromexport on the project, and one person from a company that bid on the construction tender. All three spoke on condition of anonymity.

EU sanctions bar European individuals and companies from providing energy technology to Crimea, and from taking any actions designed to circumvent those rules.

If the turbines end up in Crimea – which one of the sources said could happen as soon as within the next two months – it could test the limits of what is allowable under sanctions imposed by the European Union after Russia annexed the territory from Ukraine in 2014. Legal experts say there are no court precedents to say whether Siemens could be held responsible if a third party brought the turbines to Crimea.

The European Commission in Brussels had no specific comment about the Siemens turbines and said it was up to EU member countries to enforce sanctions rules on their companies: “The restrictive measures adopted by the EU are clear. Their implementation is in the hands of the member states,” a spokeswoman said. (with Reuters)