European Council on Foreign Relations

A faltering transition in Libya?

Two years ago the armed uprising in Libya succeeded in overthrowing Colonel Gaddafi - but how successful has Libya been in laying the foundations of a genuine democratic transition? This was the over-arching question at a Black Coffee Morning this week in ECFR's London office, but the questions kept coming:

How important is the security situation? Is that situation improving? How can EU countries and institutions help, and how much will be up to the Libyans themselves? And what is the silver lining when Libyans take to the streets in protest?

Two men attempted to answer the questions - Sir Dominic Asquith, who served as Britain's ambassador to Libya, Egypt and Iraq, and ECFR's own Mattia Toaldo. First, here's a short ECFR podcast with Mattia's introduction:

And if you're interested in hearing the entire meeting, here's the audio:

 

Libya - What Can Europe do? by Ecfr

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Turkey’s democratisation package: a stage, not the final destination

It wasn’t long ago when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey's powerful prime minister, was wearing the mantle of champion of democracy. Following the government clampdown on the protests sweeping through Istanbul and other Turkish cities over the past summer, however, a good number of his fellow countrymen and women began to express doubt over his supposed commitment to democracy. The EU is similarly concerned about the authoritarian turn in Turkish politics – reflected in the monitoring reports issued annually by the European Commission.

On Monday, Erdoğan sought to recover at least in part some of his democratic credentials by unveiling a set of reforms to advance individual freedoms and minority rights. The “democratisation package”, announced at a press conference in Ankara, proposes a number of measures to be taken by the government, notably, lifting the ban on wearing the headscarf

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What role for the International Criminal Court in Syria?

As the United Nations Security Council prepares to negotiate a resolution endorsing the Russian-U.S. agreement on dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons, there is a question about whether it should contain any provision on accountability for past crimes. Since the chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on 21 August, several European countries have argued for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court as an alternative to a US-led military strike. Two French-drafted resolutions circulated in the Security Council in the last week contained a provision referring Syria to the ICC alongside steps to ensure that Syrian chemical weapons are placed under international control and then destroyed.

The question of a referral arises because Syria is not a party to the Court, launched in 2002 to prosecute individuals responsible for genocide, crimes against

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Letter by European dignitaries to EU Foreign Ministers on Israeli settlement funding

Following calls to postpone, modify or even suspend the new European Commission guidelines on the funding of Israeli businesses and institutions in the occupied territories, a group of European dignitaries has sent a letter to the 28 EU Foreign Ministers, urging them to fully support European institutions in implementing guidelines that exclude Israel’s illegal settlements from EU funding.
 
The letter has been signed by 21 prominent Europeans – amongst them eight former Foreign Ministers, four former Prime Ministers, one former Vice-President of the European Commission and one former EU High Representative – from 10 European countries, including the UK, France, Germany and Ireland.
 
The signatories stress that the guidelines reflect the EU’s long-held position that the European Union will not recognize unilateral changes to Israel’s pre-1967 borders and that the EU, under

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What does Algeria think about Egypt’s coup?

Since the Egyptian military ousted democratically elected President Morsi on 3rd July, responding to growing public unrest about the nature and direction of his government, some observers of the region have drawn parallels with events in Algeria in the early 1990s that heralded that country’s long and traumatic civil war. In early 1992, an election in which an Algerian Islamist party, the Islamist Salvation Front (FIS) looked set to emerge victorious, was effectively annulled by the army after the first round. Excluded once more from political participation, Algerian Islamists felt there were no political avenues open to them, and violent Islamist rebel groups, which already had strong roots, burgeoned in strength. An internal armed conflict over nearly a decade in which as many as  200,000 died, ensued.
 
Whether or not the parallel between the two north African countries’

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