Libya: Amid Hope for Peace, Regional Rifts Still Pose Hurdles

Libyans and the United Nations advanced their current effort to end almost a decade of instability and war this month when a U.N.-backed forum nominated an interim government to prepare nationwide elections by the end of 2021. The new transitional government brings hope that this process—the third major U.N. peace effort in Libya—might lead to stability. Still, achieving lasting peace will require that the process address the main underlying driver of conflict: the divisions among Libya’s three main regions, notably over how to organize the government. It also will need the United States and other countries to support the transitional government and hold Libya’s contesting sides accountable. READ MORE…

Building peace through subnational governance: The case of Libya

Amidst the pandemic and an unprecedented economic downturn, millions of people continue to face the compounding effects of violent conflict. Disputes over control of territory and resources play an oversized role in many of these conflicts — as evident, for example, in Ethiopia, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Myanmar. A recent World Bank study finds that much greater attention needs to be paid to issues of subnational governance in conflict prevention and settlement. Based on experiences with conflict mitigation efforts in seven countries, the study identifies a set of factors that account for the success or failure of subnational governance reform in peace processes. It stresses that too often these critical issues are addressed too late and without sufficient detail, because subnational governance reform is sensitive, easily politicized, and hard to compromise on. Yet failing to tackle these issues has a major and negative impact on the sustainability of peace agreements. Libya serves as an illustrative case, where subnational governance is at the heart of the ongoing conflict. READ MORE…

China: A Challenge or an Opportunity for the OSCE?

China has become a significant actor in the OSCE area at a time of deep divisions among participating States. As China, Russia, and the West now represent three rival great powers competing for influence in Eurasia, participating States’ narratives on China are polarised, driven, in part, by fundamentally different underpinning value systems. However, regardless of whether the ever-increasing Chinese presence are considered a challenge or an opportunity for the OSCE, the Organization needs to face China, not ignore it. READ MORE…

All Notes

The OSCE’s Afghanistan Challenge 8 Sep 2021 | Afghanistan, Confidence Building in the OSCE Region, Geopolitics in Eastern EuropeThe Taliban takeover of Afghanistan poses three specific sets of challenges for the OSCE and its participating States: instability in...

Pawns, Partners, and “Smart Leadership”: Ukraine’s Opportunities in the China-Russia-West Triangle

Ukraine can find advantage in geopolitical competition while reducing its sense of disempowerment. The increasingly three-sided competition for influence between China, Russia, and the West has arguably created a new space for autonomous decision making when it comes to strategic geoeconomic choices in Kyiv’s foreign policy. As China’s economic significance for Ukraine increases, there is an opportunity for “smart leadership” in developing a fresh set of policies. Ukraine has the location—if not yet the consolidated political, judicial, and financial institutions—to move beyond its self-perception as a pawn among larger, uncontrollable forces to pursue a more self-confident role as a partner in an increasingly multipolar geoeconomic regional environment. Argued in this memo is that Ukraine has the possibility to combine its pro-Western foreign policy orientation with active economic cooperation with China. It can respect the red lines of its Western partners in relation to China while making the most of the economic opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). READ MORE…

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Implications for the OSCE

Since its inception in late 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has grown into a vast global development project with increasing geopolitical and geo-economic implications. By 2020, Belt and Road co-operation involved more than half of the OSCE’s 57 participating...