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AFGHANISTAN: THE FURTHER WRECKING
SHIFTING SANDS & ISIS;
UKRAINE: 'A GLIMMER OF HOPE'
Our November issue reports on three top candidates for the 'Failed State'
label. Starting with Afghanistan, which slides further into chaos but at
least has a government of sorts; then on to Libya, with two competing and
ineffectual governments, where in the absence of credible alternatives, one
being an Islamic state, we look at the prospect of a new strongman regime
which is looming as a possibility, encouraged by neighbouring Egypt.
Democracy is not anticipated anytime soon.
Afghanistan and Libya both now host an ISIS presence, in Afghanistan firmly
establishing itself, to the cost of the Taliban as we report, whereas the
shifting sands have not yet settled in Libya, allowing clear distinctions
between several competing Islamist parties and groups.
Ukraine is examined as to its current position - and what directions and
opportunities, good and bad, might be opening up where we can echo
Chancellor Merkel's "Glimmer of hope".
Further Wrecking of Afghanistan
The Mullah Omar affair
When Akhtar Mohammad Mansur, the acting head of the Quetta Shura of the Taliban,
leaked the information that Mullah Omar was dead, he probably did not expect all
the trouble that he had. His plan was simple: it was becoming clear that it
would not be possible to move further down the path to reconciliation without
the Taliban resolving the issue of their leadership. Taking controversial
decisions about peace talks required a strong and legitimate leader. The first
step was therefore admitting that Mullah Omar was dead; the second step was
electing a new leader.
Mansur generously put his own candidature forward, as that of an experienced
leader who had in fact done the job for years already in an acting position. He
managed to get the job, perhaps helped by the fact that he himself selected
those who had the right to vote. That is where the problems started, as many of
his colleagues did not want him to take over [continues...]
Libya: Shifting Sands
The outgoing mediator from the
United Nations, Spaniard Bernardino Leon, presented a plan to heal Libya last
October 8, hoping that it might serve as the basis for a reunion, leading to the
emergence of a national unity government. Fajez-Serraj, an MP from the Tripoli
government, was chosen as prime minister. The agreement has not passed and, in
fairness, few expected it to go beyond the paper on which it was signed. The
best that could be expected was for the agreement to reopen the season of
negotiation because everyone is tired of the constant shootings and the
difficulties that have become daily routines.
It seems comical at best to expect Libya to find stability, thanks to the United
Nations’s national unity negotiations as led by special envoy Bernardino Leon
(or any other diplomat for that matter). To expect favorable change, in the form
of an actual peace process in the North African country, to emerge by securing a
handful of signatures on a document, is close to a textbook definition of
naiveté. UN mandated Diplomacy has not invented nation-building glue. Analyzing
the current situation in Libya and the strategy followed to date by the United
Nations, it seems unlikely at best that the negotiations, in the way that
Bernardino Leon conducted them, will result in a framework able to produce
significant effects on the peace process.
In fact, the political distance between the two competing parliaments of the two
rival governments at opposite ends of Libya, one in Tripoli and the other in
Tobruk, suggests the outcome has been further compromised [continues...]
Ukraine: 'A Glimmer
The conflict in Ukraine, ongoing
since April 2014, has now claimed at least 6,000 lives. A ceasefire agreement
reached in February in Minsk between the rebel forces in the country's east,
Moscow and the authorities in Kiev established a truce which stood precariously
for a number of months. Throughout the summer however, tensions increased and
saw the continuation of barbed exchanges between Moscow and Kiev, occasional
clashes in the rebel-held territories, and a series of trials of Ukrainian
nationals in Russia which served as fodder for the ongoing propaganda war
between the two sides. Tensions also focused around plans for the rebel held
territories to hold their own elections in October, flouting the rest of the
country's plans for regional elections.
The recent report on the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 has
reignited tensions over last summer's tragedy. [continues...]