Tag Archives: Maghreb

Libia: due anni dopo Gheddafi

Il governo libico, come ogni stato sovrano, deve riconquistare il monopolio sull’esercizio legittimo della forza. La sicurezza deve essere la priorità su cui basare la crescita di ogni altro settore.

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Libyan protestor Gaddafi

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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]entre si avvicina il secondo anniversario della rivoluzione libica, la minaccia di nuove proteste ha spinto il governo di Tripoli ad annunciare un piano per la sicurezza di alcune città, tra cui la capitale. Sebbene nuove proteste armate appaiano poco probabili, la pressione popolare per il cambiamento è stata così virulenta da suscitare reazioni da parte del governo. Il Primo Ministro Ali Zaidan ha manifestato le proprie preoccupazioni sul rischio di una seconda rivoluzione,  ventilata da molti cittadini nei centri di Beni Ulid, Bengasi e Tripoli. Vari gruppi della società civile, inoltre, hanno annunciato proteste contro la lentezza delle riforme governative. A fronte delle tante sfide che si prospettano per il governo, il proliferare di tali voci critiche è indice del crescente malcontento che serpeggia tra il popolo.

Il governo sembra  incapace di affrontare le più elementari questioni di sicurezza: lo dimostrano incidenti di alto profilo – come  l’attacco al consolato statunitense, avvenuto lo scorso settembre  a Bengasi – o  l’insubordinazione delle milizie armate. In molte città,  numerosi miliziani continuano a girare a piacimento per le strade, pretendendo inoltre un trattamento di favore in virtù del servizio svolto durante la guerra.

Città strategiche come Bengasi – centro economico della nazione e baluardo della rivoluzione – sono soggette al malfunzionamento delle istituzioni, che determina uno stato di semi-anarchia. Un’ondata di violenza ha investito la città, scossa da  rapimenti, bombardamenti ed omicidi che hanno spesso colpito personalità del governo e della polizia. Il problema della sicurezza impedisce l’esercizio di servizi basilari, come ad esempio la raccolta urbana dei rifiuti. I miliziani, formalmente integrati nell’apparato di sicurezza nazionale, continuano a controllare punti chiave della città, risultando più numerosi e meglio armati delle forze di polizia locali. Ciononostante, gli arresti effettuati sono pochi, per timore di rappresaglie o rapimenti di poliziotti.

La città di Bengasi, che ha sempre diffidato del governo centrale, ha ripreso ad invocare il ritorno ad un sistema federalista. Tali richieste, che se attuate indebolirebbero ulteriormente il governo di Tripoli, potrebbero essere imitate dalle altre province.

La sicurezza non è un problema che riguarda solamente borghi isolati o città devastate come Bengasi: anche Tripoli ha subito una certa dose di violenza. Sono all’ordine del giorno, nella capitale, tentativi di omicidio nei confronti di membri del governo o di ufficiali di sicurezza. Inoltre,  il Congresso Generale Nazionale   è stato più volte preso d’assalto da miliziani e dimostranti; il 4 gennaio, si è tentato l’omicidio del suo presidente Mohamed Magarief.

Secondo molti esperti, la violenza della rivoluzione ha avuto un impatto significativo sulla stabilità della regione magrebina, facendo confluire armi e truppe dal conflitto libico verso il Mali. Nonostante la chiusura dei confini nazionali, la Libia è ancora una base importante per i militanti islamici attivi nella regione, per cui continua a costituire uno snodo importante. Proprio le insufficienti misure di sicurezza sui confini libici hanno agevolato l’assalto ad un impianto di gas nella vicina Algeria.

A quasi due anni dalla caduta di Gheddafi, il governo deve ricostruire una nazione devastata dalla guerra civile, e al tempo stesso fronteggiare le esigenze della sua popolazione. Solo maggiori sforzi sul fronte della sicurezza e delle riforme potranno scongiurare il rischio di rivolte popolari o di nuove ondate di violenza.

Per far questo, il governo libico, come ogni stato sovrano, deve riconquistare il monopolio sull’esercizio legittimo della forza. La sicurezza deve essere la priorità su cui basare la crescita di ogni altro settore.

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Articolo tradotto da: Antonella Di Marzio

Articolo originale: Libya, Two Years After Gaddafi

Photo Credit: شبكة برق | B.R.Q

Libya, Two Years After Gaddafi

A monopoly over the legitimate use of violence- the hallmark of a sovereign state- must be regained by the Libyan government. Security issues should be the priority, as they prevent every other sector of the society from progressing.

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Libyan protestor Gaddafi

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As the second anniversary of the Libyan revolution approaches, threats of protests from angry citizens have prompted the Libyan government to announce a plan to reinforce security and surveillance capabilities around Tripoli and other cities.

Though the odds of an armed uprising remain relatively small, renewed calls for change have found enough resonance amongst the population to incite a response from the government. Prime Minister Ali Zaidan’s announcement came as a response to calls for a ‘second revolution’ from citizens in Bani Walid, Benghazi and Tripoli. Additionally, various civil society groups aim to organize protests against the government’s slow progress on reforms. The rise of critical voices points to growing dissatisfaction amongst Libya’s citizens and the myriad of challenges the government faces.

Perhaps the biggest issue remains one of basic security. Armed militias continue to escape the control of the government and High profile incidents such as the September attack on the US consulate in Benghazi only highlight the government’s inability to cope and provide the basic provision of security within its borders.

Armed militiamen continue to roam freely the streets of many Libyan towns, often demanding special treatment because of their ‘services’ during the war.

Strategic cities such as Benghazi-Libya’s economic hub and the bastion of the revolution- provide a stark example of broken institutions and lawlessness. Benghazi has witnessed a rising tide of kidnappings, bombings and assassinations, often targeting government and security officials. The lack of basic security hampers the ability of local authorities to provide basic social provisions such as garbage collection. Though symbolically integrated within the national security apparatus, armed militias outman and outgun local police and continue to control key parts of the city. Arrests are seldom made out of fear of reprisal attacks and kidnappings.

The town has historically been wary of centralized control from Tripoli. The inability of the government to meet the expectations of its citizens has renewed calls for a return to a federalist arrangement. This would significantly weaken the government and could set a precedent for other regions to do the same.

Security problems are not exclusive to isolated hamlets or destroyed cities like Benghazi. Tripoli has had its fair share of violence. Assassination attempts on government and security officials are common occurrences. The General National Congress (GNC) has been stormed by protesters and militiamen on a number of occasions, and its president Mohamed Magarief survived an assassination attempt on 4 January 2013.

The violence during the revolution already had a serious impact on the stability of the region. Many experts point to the flow of weapons and fighters from the Libyan conflict towards Mali as a major cause in the security deterioration in the Sahel. Despite having closed all borders, the Libyan territory continues to be a transit hub and the home of Islamist militants active in the region. The attackers of a gas facility in neighboring Algeria are reported to have crossed from Libya and to have benefited from the inadequate security provisions on the border.

As Libyans prepare to mark two years of rule without Gaddafi, the government faces the immense task of rebuilding a nation after a civil war that destroyed vital infrastructure and addressing the aspirations of the Libyan people at the same time. Avoiding a popular backlash or renewed violence requires greater action on the security front and a rapid application of political reforms.

The monopoly over the legitimate use of violence- the hallmark of a sovereign state- must be regained by the government. Security problems should be the priority, as they prevent every other sector of the society from progressing.

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Photo Credit: شبكة برق | B.R.Q

After Mali: Tunisia’s Foreign Policy

The current Tunisian government has to move from a mere opposition party to a governing regime, a task that is now further complicated by domestic issues, regional instability, and the weakness of its security apparatus.

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tunisia

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When the French Air Force began bombarding jihadist positions in northern Mali, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry expressed its opposition to the move. However, a more supportive stance was voiced later by Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem. This change in attitude and reports of contradictory views from other members of the government prompt a deeper look at the current regime’s foreign policy agenda and the impact the current crisis in Mali is having on the ruling establishment.

Historically, Tunisia’s foreign policy foundations were set by the country’s first President Habib Bourguiba. After independence from France, Tunisia’s diplomacy gained international respect and credibility. Notable diplomatic achievements include the election of Mongi Slim as the first African to hold President of the UN’s General Assembly and the hosting of the Arab League’s headquarters up to 1991 in Tunisia. Under Bourguiba, the country’s moderate credentials were boosted by joining the non-aligned movement and the development of close ties with the West.

Under Ben Ali, the Bourgubist pro-western stance continued to dominate the country’s foreign policy agenda, and somewhat deepened following the country’s economic liberalization. The country’s economy grew at an average rate of nearly 5% over the last decade. The stability of the country was based on a bargain between an authoritarian government that ensured large segments of the population benefited from social and economic gains; however, this broke down because the Ben Ali regime’s strategy did not provide enough employment for young, educated segments of the population, Mohamed Bouazizi being the perfect example.

The new government faces revolution-related disruptions as well as the effects of the Libyan conflict. Though a minority, Salafists have proliferated after the revolution and are routinely clash with other political groups. The ruling Ennahda party has been accused of pandering to the Salafists and using them to intimidate society. Dissatisfaction with the new government has increased since Ben Ali was deposed two years ago. Regional disparities, and a lack of employment (the same issues that brought down Ben Ali) continue to fuel protest actions against the Government.

Under the current regime, Tunisia’s foreign policy has witnessed a rapprochement with GCC countries, notably Qatar. This partially explained by ideological affinities on both sides, as well as the current government’s need of attracting foreign investors. Moreover, the visit of President Marzouki to France to mend diplomatic relations (France was a staunch supporter of the Ben Ali regime and is Tunisia’s biggest economic partner) indicates the primacy of economic issues for the post-revolutionary government.

How does this fit in with the conflict in Mali?

Tunisia’s response appears to be building on in its traditional foreign policy of non-alignment and preference for political solutions. However, an intervention in Mali raises the specter of political instability within Tunisian borders on three levels.

Firstly, via domestic jihadists, who have proliferated in the post-revolutionary climate. Such groups, could carry attacks against Western interests in the country, or against the regime if it is seen to be cooperating with the enemy. Furthermore, such attacks would not be reassuring to any potential foreign investors.

Secondly, there is as the risk of the country becoming a ‘corridor’ for weapons and jihadists from Libya operating in the region. Armed groups have been active on the border with Algeria even prior to the intervention, but the conflict in Mali is likely increase Tunisia’s exposure despite its distance from Mali.

Finally, reports indicate a number of Tunisian jihadists are fighting in Mali, and as revealed by the recent attack in Algeria where 11 militants out of 30 were Tunisian. The presence of active Tunisian jihadist groups in the conflict could have a ‘blow-back’ effect on the country. The Algerian jihadists that fought in Afghanistan and their role in the turmoil of the 1990s provide a  good lesson. Additionally, the context of widespread dissatisfaction with the current ruling regime amplifies this risk. The government’s inability to deliver on its promises after two years in power could create a large pool of disenfranchised youths ripe for recruitment by the jihadists.

As many parties brought to power with the wave of the Arab spring, the current Tunisian government has to move from a mere opposition party to a governing regime, a task that is now further complicated by domestic issues, regional instability, and the weakness of its security apparatus. Not only does this renders its position vis-a-vis the intervention in Mali incomprehensible, it also highlights the importance of the tiny nation in the Maghreb’s current climate of instability.

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Photo credit: Keith Roper

Further reading: Tunisia: Signs of Domestic Radicalization Post-Revolution / Tunisia’s Economic Challenges