Libya’s Lesson for Iran: Beware of Rapprochement
By Dan Glazebrook
Three years ago, in late October 2011, the world witnessed the final defeat of the Libyan Jamahiriya – the name by which the Libyan state was known until overthrown in 2011, meaning literally the “state of the masses” – in the face of a massive onslaught from NATO, its regional allies and local collaborators.
seven eight months for the world’s most powerful military alliance – with a combined military spending of just under $1 trillion per year – to fully destroy the Jamahiriya (a state with a population the size of Wales) and it took a joint British-French-Qatari special-forces operation to finally WIN control of the capital. In total, 10,000 strike sorties were rained down on Libya, tens of thousands killed and injured, and the country left a battleground for hundreds of warring factions, armed to the teeth with weapons, either looted from state armouries or provided directly by NATO and its allies. Britain, France and the US had led a war which had effectively transformed a peaceful, prosperous African country into a textbook example of a “failed state.”
Yet the common image of Libya in the months and years leading up to the invasion was that of a state that had “come in from the cold” and was now enjoying friendly relations with the West. Tony Blair’s famous embrace of Gaddafi in his tent in 2004 was said to have ushered in a new period of “rapprochement” with Western companies rushing to do business in the oil-rich African state, and Gaddafi’s abandonment of a nuclear deterrent apparently indicative of the new spirit of trust and cooperation.
Yet this image was largely a myth. Yes, sanctions were lifted and diplomatic relations restored; but this did not represent any newfound trust and friendship. Gaddafi himself never changed his opinion that the forces of old and new colonialism remained bitter enemies of African unity and independence, and for their part, the US, Britain and France continued to resent the assertiveness and independence of Libyan foreign policy under Gaddafi’s leadership. The African Oil Policy Initiative Group (AOPIG) – an elite US think tank comprising congressmen, military officers and energy industry lobbyists – warned in 2002 that the influence of “adversaries such as Libya” would only grow unless the US significantly increased its military presence on the continent. Yet, despite “rapprochement,” Gaddafi remained a staunch opponent of such a presence, as noted with anxiety in frequent diplomatic cables from the US Embassy. One, for example, from 2009, noted that “the presence of non-African military elements in Libya or elsewhere on the continent” was almost a “neuralgic issue” for Gaddafi. Another cable from 2008 quoted a pro-Western Libyan government official as saying that “there will be no real economic or political reform in Libya until al-Gaddafi passes from the political scene” which would “not happen while Gaddafi is alive,” hardly the image of a man bending to the will of the West. Gaddafi had clearly not been moved by the flattery towards Libya (or “appropriate deference” as another US Embassy cable put it) that was much in evidence during the period of “rapprochement.” Indeed, at the Arab League summit in March 2008, he warned the assembled heads of state that, following the execution of Saddam Hussein, a former “close friend” of the US, “in the future, it’s going to be your turn too…Even you, the friends of America – no, I will say we, we the friends of America – America may approve of our hanging one day.”
So much for a new period of trust and co-operation. Whilst business deals were being signed, Gaddafi remained implacably opposed to the US and European military presence on the continent (as well as leading the fight to reduce their economic presence) and understood well that this might cost him his life. The US too understood this, and despite their outward flattery, behind the scenes were worried and resentful.
Thus, the so-called rapprochement period was anything but. The US continued to remain hostile to the independent spirit of Libya – as evidenced most obviously by Gaddafi’s hostility to the presence of US and European military forces in Africa – and it now seems that they and the British used this period to prepare the ground for the war that eventually took place in 2011.
The US, for example, used their newfound access to Libyan officials to cultivate relations with those who would become their key local allies during the war. Leaked diplomatic cables show that pro-Western Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul-Jalil arranged covert meetings between US and Libyan government officials that bypassed the usual official channels and were therefore “under the radar” of the foreign ministry and central government. He was also able to speed up the prisoner release programme that led to the release of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group insurgents who ultimately acted as NATO’s shock troops during the 2011 war. The head of the LIFG – al-Qaeda’s FRANCHISE in Libya – eventually became head of Tripoli’s military council, whilst Abdul-Jalil himself became head of the “Transitional National Council,” that was installed by NATO following the fall of the Jamahiriya.
Another key figure groomed by the US in the years preceding the invasion, was Mahmoud Jibril, head of the National Economic Development Board from 2007, who arranged six US training programmes for Libyan diplomats, many of whom subsequently resigned and sided with the US and Britain once the rebellion and invasion got underway.
Finally, the security and intelligence co-operation that was an element of the “rapprochement” period was used to provide the CIA and MI6 with an unprecedented level of information about both Libyan security forces and opposition elements they could cultivate that would prove invaluable for the conduct of the war.
Thus rapprochement, whilst appearing to be an improvement in relations, may actually be a “long game” to lay the groundwork for naked aggression, by building up intelligence and sounding out possible collaborators, effectively building up a fifth column within the state itself. This is what the neo-conservatives in the US Congress opposing Obama’s “thaw” in Iranian relations apparently fail to understand. Thankfully, it is likely that the Iranians understand it perfectly well.
- Dan Glazebrook is a political writer specialising in Western foreign policy. He is author of Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis.
Photo: Moamer Gaddafi addresses delegates during the 12th African Union summit at the United Nations Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on 4 Feb, 2009 (AFP)
The Supreme Court’s ruling does not affect the legitimacy of the election of the House of Representatives
Ruseifa news - lawyer Azza Kamel oppressed February decision of the Committee set up by the former Libyan National Congress said amendments overturned on constitutional declaration of the Supreme Court that “the ruling of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court does not affect the legitimacy of the House of Representatives.”
In its first response to the judgment oppressed added that “the status quo and the consequences of judgment in appeal No. 17 against the unconstitutionality of paragraph (11) of Article 30 of the amended constitutional declaration under the Seventh Amendment has nothing to do with the legitimacy of the Parliament (House of Representatives).”
The lawyer added that “the Supreme Court in its judgment did not cancel the Seventh Amendment to the Declaration, but canceled and only a single item from a (item 11), asking everyone to” return to constitutional amendments and the Declaration of the whole. “
She stressed that the oppressed, “the legitimacy of the House of Representatives depends on a package of legislation, the most important of Law No. 10 of 2014 on the election of the House of Representatives in the transitional phase, which was issued from the General National Congress (former parliament).”
It attributed lawyer legal opinion saying that “item 11, which the court ruled unconstitutional stipulates that works proposal in February to the Committee that the House of Representatives elected decisively the question of the head of state directly elected or indirectly system within a period of not more than forty-five days of his first hearing, consequently, this item is not about elections, new Council of Representatives at all. “
According to the oppressed, “the work of the February committee is divided into two parts: the first to do the constitutional amendments and the second proposal of election law, which was, introduced a proposed constitutional amendments first, who handed the Chairman of the Committee to the President of the General National Congress, a proposal which was released Accordingly seventh constitutional amendment specifically item 11 of it. “
She continued, “After that, the Commission and after the resignation of two of them to submit a proposed election law, which introduced a separate bill after the issuance of the seventh amendment has nothing to do with this amendment and therefore item 11, which abolished by the Supreme Court.”
Her “Based on the proposed (election proposal), the National Congress issued elected House of Representatives No. 10 Law for the year 2014 on 31 March 2014 and amended by Law No. 14 of 2014 ie after issuance of the amendment seventh Constitution on 11 March 2014, in the sense that the legality of the election of the Council are drawn from his election law based on Law No. 10 of 2014, which is still standing and true. “
She pointed out that “the intended proposal in February referred to in item 11 of the seventh amendment of the constitutional declaration is proposed only constitutional amendments put forward by the Commission in February, does not apply to the election of the House of Representatives No. 10 Act of 2014,” saying at the same time that the “rule unconstitutional item 11 of the Constitutional Declaration does not affect the legality of the House of Representatives, which elected its origin issued by the General Conference of the Libyan national law. “
And ruled that the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court in Tripoli on Thursday declared unconstitutional decisions, “committee in February” on amendments to the constitutional declaration and its decision to hold snap parliamentary elections.
The text of the court’s decision on the “unconstitutionality of paragraph 11 of the amended Article 30 of the Constitutional Declaration under the Seventh Amendment dated March 11 (March) 2014 and all the implications of it,” which means the invalidity of the parliamentary elections and then this decision is dissolved.
The words of the Supreme Court (s) of Representatives election rule does not affect the legitimacy of the commission in February Council controls Summary
الرصيفة الأخبارية – قالت المحامية عزة كامل المقهور مقرر لجنة فبراير التي شكلها المؤتمر الوطني الليبي السابق وأبطلت تعديلاتها على الإعلان الدستوري المحكمة العليا إن “حكم الدائرة الدستورية بالمحكمة العليا لا يمس شرعية مجلس النواب”.
وفي أول رد لها على الحكم أضافت المقهور أن “الوضع القائم وتبعات الحكم في الطعن رقم 17 بعدم دستورية الفقرة (11) من المادة 30 من الإعلان الدستوري المعدلة بموجب التعديل الدستوري السابع ليس له علاقة بشرعية البرلمان (مجلس النواب)”.
وأضافت المحامية أن “المحكمة العليا في حكمها الصادر لم تلغي التعديل السابع للإعلان الدستوري وإنما ألغت بندا وحيدا منه فقط وهو (البند 11)، مطالبة الجميع بـ”العودة للإعلان الدستوري بأكمله وتعديلاته”.
وأكدت المقهور أن “مشروعية مجلس النواب تعتمد على حزمة من التشريعات أهمها القانون رقم 10 لسنة 2014 بشأن انتخاب مجلس النواب في المرحلة الانتقالية الذي صدر من المؤتمر الوطني العام (البرلمان السابق)”.
وعللت المحامية رأيها القانوني قائلة إن “البند 11 الذي حكمت المحكمة بعدم دستوريته يقضي بأنه يعمل بمقترح لجنة فبراير على أن يقوم مجلس النواب المنتخب بحسم مسألة رئيس الدولة بنظام انتخاب مباشر أو غير مباشر خلال مدة لا تزيد عن خمسة وأربعين يوما من عقد أول جلسة له، بالتالي فإن ذلك البند لا يتعلق بانتخابات مجلس النواب الجديد مطلقاً”.
وبحسب المقهور فإن “عمل لجنة فبراير ينقسم إلى قسمين: الأول القيام بالتعديلات الدستورية والثاني تقديم مقترح بقانون الانتخاب، وهو ما كان، فقدمت مقترح تعديلاتها الدستورية أولا الذي سلم من رئيس اللجنة إلى رئيس المؤتمر الوطني العام وهو المقترح الذي صدر بناء عليه التعديل الدستوري السابع وتحديدا البند 11 منه”.
وتابعت “بعد ذلك، قامت اللجنة وبعد استقالة عضوين منها بتقديم مقترح بقانون الانتخاب وهو مشروع قانون منفصل قدم بعد صدور التعديل السابع ولا علاقة له بالتالي بهذا التعديل ولا بالبند 11 منه الذي ألغته المحكمة العليا”.
واستطردت قائلة “بناء على المقترح (مقترح الانتخابات) قام المؤتمر الوطني بإصدار قانون انتخاب مجلس النواب رقم 10 لسنة 2014 بتاريخ 31 مارس (آذار) 2014 وتعديله بالقانون رقم 14 لسنة 2014 أي بعد صدور التعديل الدستور السابع في 11 مارس (آذار) 2014، بمعنى أن مشروعية انتخاب المجلس مستمدة من قانون انتخابه استنادا للقانون رقم 10 لسنة 2014 الذي ما يزال قائما وصحيحا”.
وأشارت إلى أن “المقصود بمقترح فبراير المشار إليه في البند 11 من التعديل السابع للإعلان الدستوري هو المقترح بالتعديلات الدستورية فقط الذي تقدمت به لجنة فبراير، ولا يسري على قانون انتخاب مجلس النواب رقم 10 لسنة 2014″ مؤكدة في نفس الوقت أن “الحكم بعدم دستورية البند 11 من الإعلان الدستوري لا يمس مشروعية مجلس النواب الذي مصدره قانون انتخابه الصادر عن المؤتمر الوطني العام الليبي”.
وقضت الدائرة الدستورية بالمحكمة العليا بطرابلس يوم الخميس بعدم دستورية قرارات “لجنة فبراير” بشأن تعديلاتها على الإعلان الدستوري وقرارها بإجراء انتخابات برلمانية عاجلة.
ونص قرار المحكمة على “عدم دستورية الفقرة 11 من المادة 30 من الإعلان الدستوري المعدلة بموجب التعديل الدستوري السابع الصادر بتاريخ 11 مارس (آذار) 2014 وكافة الآثار المترتبة عنه”، ما يعني بطلان انتخابات البرلمان ومن ثم يعتبر بهذا القرار منحلاً.
كلمات دليلية العليا المحكمة النواب انتخاب حكم شرعية لا يمس لجنه فبر اير مجلس ابط مختصر
United troops trying to take back Tripoli
TRIPOLI: Libya’s internationally-recognised prime minister said yesterday that military forces in the strife-torn country had united to try to recapture Tripoli and the second city Benghazi from Islamist militias.
Abdullah Al Thani also expressed his frustration over a lack of support from the international community, calling for foreign weapons and assistance in the fight against the Islamists.
“All military forces have been placed under army command to liberate Tripoli and Benghazi soon, inshallah (God willing),” Thani told AFP in a telephone interview from the eastern town of Al Baida.
Since a 2011 revolution which toppled Libya’s longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, interim authorities have failed to establish a regular army and had to rely on state-backed militias.
Former rebels who fought against Gaddafi have formed powerful militias and seized control of large parts of turmoil-gripped Libya over the past three years.
On Wednesday, retired general Khalifa Haftar launched an operation against Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi with the backing of army units and civilians who have taken up arms.
The operation is “under the control of the regular army and the control of the government and the parliament,” said Thani.
An AFP count based on hospital sources in the city put the death toll in Benghazi at 66 since Haftar’s offensive began, including eight killed yesterday and four who died in a suicide attack the previous day.
Haftar launched a first, unsuccessful campaign against Islamists in the city back in May but failed to muster support from the authorities who accused the Gaddafi-era general of trying to mount a coup.
Before this week’s assault, Haftar’s forces had been steadily beaten back to a final redoubt at Benghazi’s airport, which has come under attack by Islamists since mid-September.
Thani’s government and parliament, elected on June 25, have taken refuge in the country’s east to escape Fajr Libya, a mainly Islamist coalition which seized control of Tripoli at the end of August.
The fall of the capital followed a weeks-long battle with pro-government militias from the town of Zintan in western Libya.
Thani said the Zintan forces had also been placed under army command and joined regular units which aim to recapture the capital.
“All the forces have been placed under the command of the army to liberate Tripoli,” Thani said.
He branded Fajr Libya as “outlaws” who had set up an “illegitimate” parallel government and alleged the group was the armed wing of movements such the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist factions.
Unlike its predecessor, Libya’s new parliament is dominated by anti-Islamist lawmakers. AFP