Monthly political analysis on nations in
economic or political transition
Afghanistan: The 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 & ISIS
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 of Hope'
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...]