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  • Author: Florence Gaub
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In spite of geographic proximity and a number of shared interests, the European Union and Libya have a history of strained relations. The war of 2011 provided an opportunity for a fresh start, but so far neither side has been able to reap benefits from an entirely new political situation. Instead, Libya's difficult internal situation has not only slowed down the process of rapprochement, but also increased EU concern. At a time when cooperation becomes a necessity rather than a choice, Libya is now down-spiralling into implosion at the levels of security, bureaucracy and economy, to the point where it cannot absorb the offers being made.
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Francesco Strazzari
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As security continues to be a primary challenge in post-Qadhafi Libya, the availability of weapons to nearby opposition groups and armed insurgencies is a source of major concern for Libya's neighbours and the international community. Uncontrolled weapons proliferation and the rise of new armed groups have gone hand in hand across various conflict fronts. While what is known about weapons acquisition dynamics does not make it possible to establish a strict causal relationship, by observing variations in the various contexts, critical factors can be identified, such as the emergence of a protection market, the multiplication of tactical options and splintering processes, which facilitate comprehension of how greater circulation of weapons is related to regional volatility and destabilisation.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Tim Haesebrouck
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Toppling Qaddafi. Libya and the Limits of Liberal Intervention, by Christopher S. Chivvis, Cambridge University Press, 2014
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Tom Farer
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The only means available to the US to assume a responsibility to protect the Syrian people from slaughter was by credibly threatening Bashar al-Assad and the security and military elite surrounding him with a decapitating air strike if they did not immediately cease murdering protestors and begin negotiations with opposition figures to the end of making the regime broadly representative of the Syrian population. Credibility probably demanded an initial decimation, a technically possible move. In part because the US lacks the ideology and institutional structure of a real imperial power, in part because it is post-Bush a careful calculator of national interests, Syria, unlike Libya but much like Sudan and the DRC, was a bridge too far.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Sudan, Libya, Syria
  • Author: Marco Pinfari
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since 1960, Latin American attempts at regionalism have undergone distinct phases. More notably, they have tended to diverge across space, gradually giving birth to separate blocs that seem to be tearing South, Central and North America apart. Additionally, within and across these regions several overlapping projects coexist. This article focuses on the dynamics of segmented and overlapping regionalism in order to describe what they look like, analyse how they articulate with one another, and explain why member states have pushed for such a messy outcome. This situation, linked to the evolution of the global context, might be indicating that regionalism in Latin America has reached its peak, beyond which it may be difficult to achieve further progress. Two conclusions are elicited: first, economic integration is becoming a geographically diffused phenomenon rather than a regional one; second, regionalism is still a compelling foreign policy but its causes, goals and outcomes are no longer what they used to be.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia, Latin America, North Africa, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Ronald Bruce St John
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In landmark elections, Libyans went to the polls for the first time in 60 years to elect a General National Congress which will form an interim government, oversee the writing of a constitution, and supervise polls for an elected government based on the new constitution. Taking place only nine months after the successful conclusion of the 17 February Revolution, the elections were widely hailed as an extraordinary achievement. The election results were a surprise to many observers as Libyan voters largely supported moderate parties and candidates, reversing a regional trend in support of Islamists.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Luis Simón
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU's ineffectiveness vis-à-vis Libya and the southern Mediterranean crises more broadly is largely explained by the CSDP's narrow mandate centred on crisis management. The EU's emphasis on external crisis management was strategically sound given the geopolitical context of the 1990s. CSDP's quiet drift towards a 'softer' kind of crisis management from the middle of the first decade of the 2000s was also instrumental in highlighting the EU's differences from post-11 September US unilateralism. That said, (soft) crisis management has become progressively obsolete in the light of a rapidly changing geopolitical environment characterised by an overall retreat of Western power globally, a weakening of America's commitment to European security, an increasingly tumultuous European neighbourhood, and Europe's financial troubles. In order to meet the demands of a changing geopolitical environment, CSDP must break away from its distinctively reactive approach to security to include all the functions normally associated with the military including, chiefly, deterrence and prevention. This would allow the EU to actively shape its regional and global milieu.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Libya
  • Author: Silvia Colombo
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been confronted with increasing challenges stemming from the Arab uprisings. Internally, they have had to face popular mobilisation and discontent, triggering a mixed reaction, including economic handouts, patronage, limited political and economic reforms as well as military intervention and repression. Externally, they have actively intervened in support of the protest movements in Syria and Libya and enthusiastically facilitated President Saleh's departure from Yemen. At first sight these responses may seem schizophrenic. Upon closer inspection, however, managing instability by shoring up friendly regimes on the inside and expanding the GCC's influence outside represent two sides of the same coin.
  • Political Geography: Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Robert Springborg
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The dramatic thawing of the Cold War at the end of the 1980s accompanied by the rapid democratisation of Eastern Europe served as inspiration and model for political transitions in other settings. Now the Arab world, the securitisation of which has kept it frozen in what amounts to a regional cold war long after the global prototype ended, may be entering its springtime of political freedom. Tunisia's 'Jasmine' and Egypt's 'Midan al Tahrir' Revolutions chased established autocrats from power, thus making possible new domestic political orders and substantial reorientations of foreign policies. Imitative uprisings in Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Syria have thus far resulted in widespread violence, regime retrenchments and even foreign interventions, although prospects do remain for more positive outcomes. Intermittent demonstrations in various other Arab countries, including Morocco, Algeria, Oman, Jordan and Iraq, have typically been met with limited political reforms and promises of more to come. So the region is definitely in political ferment, but whether that presages transitions to democracy à la Eastern Europe in 1989, or revanchist reconsolidations reminiscent of those that overwhelmed the 1848 liberal nationalist movements in Western Europe, remains to be seen.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, Algeria, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman
  • Author: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Obama administration is attempting to 'lead from behind' in Libya, causing much concern among its allies and derision among its adversaries. Nevertheless this strategy represents an appropriate response both to the specific situation in Libya and to the wider constraints on American global leadership. With the shift in global resources from North to South and West to East, collective action has become more difficult to organise and global institutions have become harder to reinforce. Meanwhile governments in the United States and elsewhere must wrestle to bring their fiscal accounts back under control. A cooperative approach is the only answer. The difficulty for the Obama administration is that by emphasizing cooperation they make the success of their Libya intervention depend upon the actions of the other countries involved. Should France and Great Britain fail in Libya, President Obama's new conception of American global leadership will falter as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, France, Libya
  • Author: Bessma Momani, Andrew F. Cooper
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: It is increasingly obvious that Qatar is playing above its weight in the international role. There is no one script that defines Qatar's diplomatic role. It is best seen as a maverick, willing to work with the US as well as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. It operates a complex form of public diplomacy via Al-Jazeera and other high profile initiatives at the same time as it mediates behind the scenes with Israel and Lebanon. Qatar's role as a unique hybrid diplomatic actor is reinforced by the enthusiastic support it displayed towards the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, including operational support for the UN Security Resolution to place a no-fly zone with respect to the Qaddafi's regime, while being more circumspect on the uprising in Bahrain. Such an extensive, unconventional and differentiated approach creates risks as well as opportunities. Yet, through a combination of resources and vision, it is skilled resilience not vulnerability that defines Qatar.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, Dublin
  • Author: Nicole Koenig
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Throughout the 2000s, Libya's Col. Muammar Qadhafi signed friendship treaties and trade deals with major Western leaders and presented himself as an active partner in the fight against terrorism and illegal migration. While the dictator 'camped' in several European capitals, the European Union (EU) and Libya were negotiating a Framework Agreement aiming at ''the full reintegration of Libya in bilateral and multilateral international relations'' and a fruitful political dialogue on issues of common interest. The events in February 2011 heralded the end of this period of international 'Realpolitik'. On 27 June, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Qadhafi, accusing him of crimes against humanity (murder and persecution). In late August, the veteran tyrant reportedly fled Tripoli.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Libya
  • Author: Ben Lombardi
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This article offers an explanation for Italian decision-making in the early weeks of the Libyan crisis. Of the European NATO allies that have been engaged in military operations, none have been so conflict-ridden as Italy. It is the member of the European Union (EU) whose interests, economic and political, are most directly engaged by the unrest. Rome understood from the outset that those interests would be severely challenged by a policy of confrontation with the Qadhafi regime. Indeed, the government of Premier Silvio Berlusconi sought to maintain its longstanding relationship with Tripoli alongside its traditional solidarity with EU partners and NATO allies. From the beginning, that effort proved very difficult, and was ultimately made impossible by the approval of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (17 March 2011). Italian leaders were then forced to make choices that they originally had very much wanted t o avoid. By early-April, they endorsed the efforts by both the EU and the NATO-led force to effect Qadhafi's removal and later recognised the rebel alliance. Rome agreed to contribute forces to help enforce the arms embargo and allowed NATO to use seven air bases. Although Italian forces were initially not permitted to engage in combat, by late April even that caveat had been withdrawn.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Libya, Rome
  • Author: Alison Pargeter
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since July 2008 when one of Qadhafi's sons was arrested in Geneva, Libya has been engaged in a major stand-off with Switzerland. What began as a personalised affair soon escalated into a major diplomatic crisis with the Libyan leader going so far as to declare jihad against the Swiss. Yet whilst Libya's response to the arrest surprised many and prompted questions about whether the recently rehabilitated Libya had really changed its ways, this affair in fact demonstrates some of the constants of Libyan foreign policymaking since the revolution of 1969. These include the highly personalised nature of policymaking in the Libyan state and the use of foreign policy in the enduring quest for popular legitimacy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Libya, Switzerland
  • Author: Arturo Varvelli
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Italy and Libya have always enjoyed a special relationship based on reciprocal economic interests. The 2008 Friendship Treaty and the formal apologies for the colonial past have paved the road for more stable cooperation between the two countries in other sectors as well. Libya has started a gradual and prudent reform that, minimising the risks of destabilisation, is meant to attract foreign investments outside of the hydrocarbon sector in an attempt to diversify the economy. As its major political and economic partner, Italy is playing an important role in the Libyan transformation process.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Libya, Italy