The Arab Spring began on December 17, 2010 in Tunisia as street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest the arbitrary seizing of his vegetable stand by police. Mass protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign in January 2011, after 23 years in power and go into exile in Saudi Arabia.
In February 2011, mass protests forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign after three decades in power. Okumaya devam et →
In a world of transformation, diplomatic jargon is also undergoing change. Some key expressions no longer carry the weight they once did.
9:11 Terrorist attacks led to worldwide support for the US. The North Atlantic Council invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty which states that an armed attack against one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all. The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council called on the entireinternational community to unite in the struggle against terrorism. The unity of the international community provided legitimacy for the US intervention in Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq was a different case. Okumaya devam et →
Fifty-one State Department officials have signed a “dissent channel memo” calling for a “more militarily assertive U.S. role in Syria”.
The availability of a “dissent channel” constitutes solid proof of respect for different opinions and their free expression in a government agency and is only to be envied. Secretary Kerry’s having a meeting with representatives of the group is also remarkable. In a department dealing with foreign affairs this all the more important because it ensures that policy decisions are adopted having taken full account of the collective wisdom of its members. Needless to say, once committed, foreign policy mistakes can be extremely costly and difficult to correct; a case in point being Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. Okumaya devam et →
It was a few months before the 2008 US Presidential election. I was talking to my American colleague at UNESCO. I said to her that since American presidents’ decisions have global implications, democratic countries should also have the opportunity vote in those elections within a reasonable quota to be shared among them. She responded, “an interesting idea…”. We both laughed. It was a joke but the premise was not entirely without logic.
Now that we are only months away from the end of President Obama’s second term in office, pundits have started to express opinions regarding his legacy. I feel that without voices from the Middle East the portrayal President Obama’s legacy would be incomplete. Okumaya devam et →
The West has misread and mismanaged the Arab Spring. The first glaring mistake was the Sarkozy-led Libya intervention (*). PM Cameron readily became his partner and President Obama felt that he had to join in.
In introducing Resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya Alain Juppé, then Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, said the world was experiencing “a wave of great revolutions that would change the course of history”, as people throughout North Africa and the Middle East were calling for “a breath of fresh air”, for freedom of expression and democracy. Such calls for democratic transition had echoed through Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. Everyone had witnessed the events with great hope and he believed “this new Arab springtime is good news for all”. The changes required the international community not to “give lessons”, but to help the people of those countries build a new future. He said that the urgent need to protect the civilian population had led to the elaboration of the current resolution, which authorized the Arab League and those Member States wishing to do so to take all measures to protect areas that were being threatened by the Gaddafi regime. “We have very little time left — perhaps only a matter of hours,” he said, adding that each hour and day that passed “increased the weight” on the “international community’s shoulders.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, France, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States voted for the resolution. Brazil, China, Germany, India and Russia abstained. So much for the “international community” myth… Okumaya devam et →
23 April 2015
I hold the view that the Libya intervention went beyond the letter and spirit of what was envisaged in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 of 17 March 2011 and caused divisions within the international community (*). The growing loss of migrant lives in the Mediterranean has once again focused attention on the intervention.
Rick Noack, in his Washington Post article of 21 April 2015 gave three reasons why Europe is being held responsible for migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. These were the following:
• The E.U. downsized its rescue mission in a bid to deter refugees from risking crossing the Mediterranean,
• It is nearly impossible to enter Europe legally if you’re a refugee,
• NATO and E.U. member states bombed Libya but failed to rebuild the country. Okumaya devam et →