2021 is meant to be Libya’s transitional year. The new interim government faces huge tasks.
Middle East and North Africa
Subnational governance is at the heart of the ongoing conflict in Libya.
As the Libyan people see renewed prospects for peace, subnational governance may represent an integral part of a resolution to protracted instability.
We are witnessing more terrorist attacks that occur across more countries and kill more people (and, importantly, more Muslims than non-Muslims). It is pointless for world leaders to issue shared statements of condemnation while continuing to pursue otherwise nationally-centred responses to the problem.
Al-Qaeda may not have regained the global threat potential that it posed a decade or so ago â€“ at least, not yet. But its local and regional efforts have made it, in many cases, a powerful and entrenched source of instability. If left unchecked, such local and regional power can grow into something altogether more terrible.
Signed by the P5 + Germany and mediated by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, the deal achieved with Iran on the latter’s nuclear programme has important implications for regional and international security dynamics that go well beyond nuclear weapons.
Predictions that may take a generation or more for the Middle East to recover from the turmoil that the Arab Spring are clearly a sobering assessment. But they are hardly surprising given that there has been no significant improvement in people’s living conditions, that political tensions and repression persist and that levels of violence are on the up.
What we see in Syria now illustrates the inability of global leaders to lead and offer strategic vision of engagement with each other that would enable a more constructive and pragmatic approach to problem-solving. Not only does this harm great power interests but with a look at the ever worsening humanitarian crisis in and around Syria it also makes a mockery of the values they purport to defend.
Military action, limited or otherwise, is not the answer to the much more fundamental problems that the region faces and poses. It is likely not even part of that answer. The quicker we move beyond the narrow debate over military responses to a more comprehensive strategy, the better for Syria, the Arab Spring, and ultimately for us.