- Adventure (5)
- Blog Posts (8)
- Egypt (1)
- Featured Posts (35)
- Federalism (29)
- GNC (43)
- House of Commons Briefings (3)
- ICC (5)
- Intervention (30)
- Iran (5)
- Kurdistan (KRG) (4)
- Libyan Army/Militias (58)
- Libyan Business/Investment (27)
- Libyan Elections (49)
- News (116)
- Oil (7)
- Pack's Publications (77)
- Qaddafi (25)
- Salafis (22)
- Syria (7)
- Tuareg (2)
- US Politics (28)
- USLBA (2)
- May 2013 (8)
- April 2013 (8)
- March 2013 (5)
- February 2013 (9)
- January 2013 (14)
- December 2012 (5)
- November 2012 (7)
- October 2012 (14)
- September 2012 (10)
- August 2012 (8)
- July 2012 (13)
- June 2012 (20)
- May 2012 (4)
- April 2012 (3)
- March 2012 (5)
- February 2012 (4)
- January 2012 (2)
- December 2011 (4)
- November 2011 (4)
- October 2011 (9)
- September 2011 (7)
- August 2011 (2)
- June 2011 (1)
- April 2011 (2)
- March 2011 (1)
- February 2011 (1)
The 2011 Libyan Uprisings and the Struggle for the Post-Qadhafi Future
Here is some advanced praise for the volume by the established authorities in the field:
“In the wake of Libya’s civil war, a number of volumes have appeared that chronicle the country’s civil war and its aftermath. Few, however, will be able to match the comprehensiveness and insights of The 2011 Libyan Uprisings and the Struggle for the Post-Qadhafi Future, which provides an admirable overview and synthesis of the different aspects of the country’s most recent upheaval by several noted Libya-watchers.”
—Dirk Vandewalle, Dartmouth College
“Deeply rooted in historical research, Jason Pack’s The 2011 Libyan Uprisings and the Struggle for the Post-Qadhafi Future is a work of original scholarship and analysis that sheds new light on the causes and origins of the Libyan uprisings, the continuous struggle throughout Libyan history between the center and the periphery, and the role of different domestic and international actors in the success of the revolt. The difficulties and hurdles of the transition from Jamahiriya to Jumhuriya are clearly exposed and discussed.”
—Karim Mezran, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
“Best Libya book since the uprisings against the Qadhafi regime. Sweeping introduction will introduce you to individual issues addressed by top experts. Despite ongoing change, this book will stand the test of time.”
—David Mack, Middle East Institute Scholar and former US Ambassador
Britain Should Take the Lead in Libya
In response to the current crisis in Tripoli, I am unsurprisingly calling for more engagement and support for the Zidan government from the West. Otherwise it will be too late. In Britain Should Take the Lead in Libya I am putting forth the case for strong engagement from Cameron to try to build an international coalition to help in capacity building in Libya.
For the international community the attack against the French Embassy and the radicalization of the conflict between the militias and government institutions must serve as a wake-up call, and remind them that the gains of the NATO-led intervention are on the verge of being undone.
It is against this inauspicious backdrop of a full-fledged ‘struggle for post-Qaddafi Libya’– and not simply that of Mali backlash– that last month’s bombing, this week’s militia occupations, and passing of the destructive political isolation law must be understood. The perpetrators of the attack fully understand Western reluctance to engage in nation-building post-Iraq and Afghanistan and undoubtedly intended the bombing as a message to the foreign diplomatic and business communities to stay away from Libya.
Britain remains one of (if not the) world’s expert in the field of capacity building and Cameron has the political links to Obama and the relevant Middle Eastern players (Turkey, UAE, and Qatar) that Hollande lacks. Present conditions, however, demonstrate that the time for hesitation is over and that Britain should occupy the key position in forging a new international coalition for engagement.
Libyan Stability at Risk
Karim Mezran and I again ascend the bully pulpit, advocating again for increased Western engagement in Libya in an unfortunately titled article, Libyan Stability at Risk, in Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel. We all know that Libya has not been stable since 2010, but that the central government is truly on the verge of losing control of the transition process itself. Hence, we conclude, “It is no exaggeration to say that the internal political forces inside the country are balanced on a razor’s edge. An unexpected gust of political violence could lead to anarchy; a helping hand providing a gentle push in the right direction could ease the transition toward democracy and stability.”
For the international community the attack against the French Embassy and the radicalization of the conflict between militias and government institutions must serve as a wake-up call, and remind them that the gains of the NATO-led intervention are at risk of being undone. The countries that helped overthrow Qaddafi should redouble their efforts to support the creation of professional armed forces and police, vocational training, and constitution writing. If greater support is withheld, the French Embassy attack may prove to be the start of a trend, in which case Libyan — and by extension North African — instability would become a permanent status quo. The crisis in Mali and the growing instability in Algeria — and most recently Tunisia — offer clear evidence in support of this conjecture.
It is against this inauspicious backdrop of a full-fledged “struggle for post-Qaddafi Libya” — and not simply that of Mali backlash — that last week’s bombing, this week’s militia occupations, and heated debates concerning the political isolation law must be understood.
Worse yet, the country’s fledgling national armed forces — historically weak under Qaddafi and being largely built from the ground up — have been subject to internal crises, only slowing their lackluster reconstruction. Most recently, officers from Eastern Libya demanded the removal of Chief of Staff Youssef Mangoush, citing his inability to restructure the armed forces and reinforce security. Moreover, the Southern Military Governor appointed to bring order to the country’s lawless south, recently denounced the lack of resources at his disposal, publicly admitting the impossibility of his task. The Libyan military is, to put it mildly, ill prepared for its mission to defend the state and maintain order.
Opinion: Libya – Technological Colony – To Be or Not to Be?
Here is a fascinating article about spurring technological development in the Libya Herald building on my article with Abullah Elmaazi in AJE.
Libya is blessed with energy resources which include petroleum, natural gas and materials from its vast desert land. There is the (justifiable) temptation to export as much as possible at the highest rate possible to generate the cash flow needed for the rapid building of the nation in the wake of the disastrous 40+ years of neglect. This, of course, is the right path; to build modern infrastructure, roads, schools, hospitals, and investing in future generations. But is it enough?
Per Chatham House’s 2012 Report ‘Resources Futures’, Libya holds fourth place in the largest bilateral resource trade relationships in fossil fuels: exporting crude oil to the EU27 at a value of 28.8 ($ bn). Libya is also one of the producer countries placed in high rank in vulnerability to international commodity price fluctuations. Producer countries particularly exposed to macroeconomic shocks from commodity price fluctuations are those whose i) their economies are particularly dependent on exports and ii) commodities account for a significant share of exports.
Continued economic growth based solely on natural Libyan resources simply further advance others’ technological advancements. The country has great human resources yet very little job creating capacity to absorb them. Without more focused development in Libyan technological sectors such as solar energy and water salination projects, etc., it is feasible that the end result will be to perpetuate Libyan dependence on other people’s technology – referred to as ‘technology colonization’.
Libya: Two Years Later
I teamed up with the former Prime Minister of Libya, Dr. Mustafa Abushagur to produce an Huffington Post op-ed about the current bad security climate in Libya and what steps the GNC needs to take to get out of its constitutional, political and security deadlock.
In short, Libyans want to put the Qadhafi era behind them, but they also want capable individuals to draft the constitution, keep the lights on and the oil flowing. To achieve this they need a strong, moderate leadership that establishes national consensus, and a vibrant civil society that pushes the debate forward while also supporting crucial government initiatives.
In strengthening the hands of the moderates and getting the cranes moving, Western governments and business can play an essential role. Police trainers and capacity building professionals should descend on Libya as part of a coordinated multilateral effort to follow through on international commitments to the Libyan people. Just as American technology was needed to enforce the No-Fly Zone, American acumen and experience is now needed to help train Libya’s army and develop its command and control structures. Simultaneously to the government to government dimension, American businessmen should flock to events where high-level Libyan officials, private sector entrepreneurs, and experts in the legal and security challenges of operating in Libya will come together under one roof to explain to foreign companies how they can enter and prosper in the Libyan market. The FDI Libya Conference being held in London in late May is a prime example.
Review of Gerges’s Obama and the Middle East: The End of America’s Moment
Review of Obama and the Middle East: The End of America’s Moment by Fawaz Gerges. (New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2012.)
By Jason Pack in Journal of North African Studies Vol. 18, No. 2, Spring 2013
Rebels with a Pen: Observations on the Newly Emerging Media Landscape in Libya
Anja Wollenberg and I compiled an overview of the evolution of print and broadcast media in the new Libya. We analyse Libya’s dynamic media sector commenting on the role of government regulation. Our article is published in The Journal of North African Studies 18:2, 191-210 under the title Rebels with a pen: observations on the newly emerging media landscape in Libya. Below is the abstract and you may read the whole article here. Below is the abstract:
The role of social media as a catalyst of the ‘Arab Spring’ has been subject to much debate – both by academics and the press. Likewise, the impact of international media, such as Al-Jazeera, has been thoroughly examined elsewhere. While acknowledging the significance of these players, this article explores the emergence of a new landscape of local print and broadcast media in revolutionary Libya that is both the result of the dramatic changes that the country has undergone and one of their facilitators. This article analyses the political impact of these new forms of media during and after the 2011 Libyan uprisings, with an emphasis on how the role and the self-image of journalists and media producers has evolved alongside with Libya’s political transformation. It is demonstrated that the new Libyan media began their life as ‘partisan advocates’ and that different societal currents are now struggling to set the new role of media. It concludes with an analysis of the newly implemented legal framework and institutions which govern the Libyan media. It remains unclear if recent legislation will protect independent media from the authorities or, conversely, allow the state to exert censorship and consolidate its ownership over the media. This article analyses the various approaches to media jurisdiction prevalent in post-Qadhafi Libya as reflecting various degrees of state intervention. This discussion reflects the inherent contradictions of a society which, with very little preparation, has had to manage the change from conditions of absolute governmental control to conditions of relative anarchy.
Libya Needs International Assistance, Not Drone Attacks
And here is my second salvo: a collaboration with Noman Benotman and Haley Cook to monitor development among jihadists in the Sahel region, Algeria, and Libya. We formulated this article for The Hill calling on the Obama administration to eschew drone attacks and to engage in nation building in Libya to limit the spread of Islamist contagion.
Barack Obama wisely pledged in his recent State of the Union address to help Libyans “provide for their own security” including cooperation on counterterrorism. However, should the promised “direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans” turn out to be code for conducting drone attacks on Libyan soil, then the president is on the verge of a catastrophic blunder which would irrevocably jeopardize vital American economic and strategic interests.
Until now foreign training of the Libyan army, police, and border guards has been small in scale. Most training has largely been conducted outside of Libya, in Jordan and Turkey. The U.S. for its part has discussed possible training of around 400 military special forces, but has not yet committed to firm details about the program. These positive cooperation measures are incomplete steps upon which we must rapidly build.
The new Libyan security plan announced on February 12 moves the location of training inside Libya, calling for a two-year EU border security training program using civilian trainers starting in June 2013. This plan should aid in dismantling the dysfunctional, militia-dominated Supreme Security Committee and Libya Shield Force.
The Importance of Stabilizing Libya
I have started a multi-pronged campaign to advocate for increased American capacity-building assistance to buttress Libya’s failing security institutions and to follow up on the February 12th Support Libya Conference in Paris. Here is my first salvo fired at policymakers in Foggy Bottom and on Capitol Hill: a special op-ed in Politico based on interviews with the top Libyan political leadership in the run up to the 2nd anniversary of the Libyan revolution. Libya was the real cause of the conflict in Mali and the recent tragedy in Algeria. This op-ed (co-authored with Karim Mezran of the Atlantic Council) outlines a platform of American engagement in North Africa and the Sahel that policymakers need to see.
From Cairo on the Nile to Tunis on the Mediterranean, a political vacuum has descended across North Africa… The spread of Salafist and jihadist groups, the war in Mali and the recent terrorist attack in Algeria are all direct consequences of the overthrow of Muammar Qadhafi. Paradoxically, international action in support of the Libyan people led to this whole mess, yet it is also the key to resolving it.
To help Zidan bring stability, win back the trust of his people and cement his legitimate authority against Magarief’s overreach, a new international coalition must help the Libyan government construct a coherent security apparatus. On Tuesday, representatives of the major Arab and Western powers — including the U.S. — met in Paris under the aegis of the Support Libya conference and finally agreed to “the rapid deployment of European experts” to train and rebuild Libyan security forces. To be effective, the whole process must be initiated, owned and managed by the Libyans, while building upon the international community’s role as guarantors of the Libyan revolution.
The coalition should start by training a new security force, approximately 6,000 strong. NATO countries should lead, but key Arab allies should also be given a prominent role. This force should receive on-the-job training while securing the country’s borders and physical institutions. American know-how is needed to build an army capable of handling diverse threats from nonstate actors, leaving the Europeans to focus on training the police.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron made a savvy surprise visit to Tripoli on Jan. 31. Secretary of State John Kerry should follow suit and go to Libya as part of his first trip to the Middle East. This would signal to the world America’s commitment to engagement. It could also signal the U.S.’s commitment to spearheading the diplomatic coalition and lending its unique technical expertise rather than continuing its role of passively “leading from behind.”
Engagement in Libya Was and Remains the Right Answer
In the form of a book review of Exit Gaddafi: The Hidden History of the Libyan Revolution by Ethan Chorin for The Spectator Magazine, I make the case why diplomatically and commercially engaging with Libya was always the right answer. I think this is one of the most urgent and important contributions to the debate about Libya that I’ve been able to put out there, so I strongly urge you to read and comment on the article.
Chorin’s real legacy is his unique version of the events which led to the uprisings, especially his focus on the causative role of the US-Libya relationship. In so doing, he presents the most succinct and engaging account yet in print of the secret diplomacy that led to Gaddafi paying off the Lockerbie families and renouncing his WMD program. Chorin puts forth the fascinating – yet likely erroneous – thesis that Gaddafi’s brilliant negotiating turned the Lockerbie families from the greatest opponents of Libya’s normalization with the West into its greatest proponents. According to Chorin, greed lured Western diplomats and businessmen into Gaddafi’s masterful gambit. Furthermore, Chorin asserts that the Bush administration’s policies towards Libya were primarily shaped by its desire ‘to prove’ that its strategy in Iraq was having a successful deterrent effect elsewhere. He simply dismisses the concrete counterterrorism advantages garnered from intelligence sharing.
This bears little resemblance to the reality I experienced. Few State Department or FCO officials were under any illusions about Gaddafi (as demonstrated by Wikileaks cables), many felt Libyan HUMINT seriously strengthened the fight against Al-Qaida, and no official I ever met was primarily motivated to approach Libya to demonstrate that America’s Iraq policy had encouraged other rogue states to come clean. Rather, Western diplomats and companies engaged Libya, because it was both in their interests to do so and because engagement could be used as a means to open Libya to the internet, educational exchanges, infrastructural investment, foreign scrutiny, and outside cultural influences. A by-product of this new openness was to raise the ambitions, aspirations, and know-how of ordinary Libyans. If North Korea could have been pried open in a similar manner only through dealing with Kim Jong-Il, wouldn’t policymakers have been wise to do so? And wouldn’t it have made the glorious reign of Kim Jong-Un (aka The Great Successor) less likely?
Now read the actual article on the Spectator’s Book’s blog.
Alternate Introduction to Engagement in Libya was the Right Answer
Below is an alternative introduction with a contemporary affairs hook leading into my book review defending Western policy in Libya:
More than twenty-two months after the United States joined France, Britain, Qatar, and others in enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, the morality, political wisdom, and international legality of helping rebel forces topple Muammar Gaddafi is still hotly debated.
Was it a success as it aided the Libyan people’s fight for freedom and led to successful elections bringing the Arab Spring’s only non-Islamist successor government to power? Or a failure as the post-Gaddafi central government is so weak and security so patchy that the British Ambassador’s motorcade was bombed and the U.S. Ambassador was assassinated by Islamist militants even though the authorities and the vast majority of the Libyan people hold favorable attitudes towards Britain and America?
Even the highest political officials in the land can’t seem to decide if the United States adopted the right policy in engaging in Libya. In fact, since the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 the subject of America’s role in Libya has become irrevocably tainted by partisanship.
In her last public act as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton appeared before Congress on January 23rd. She presented vague admissions concerning the State Department’s and the intelligence community’s failings that led to the death of Ambassador Stevens. Freshman Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul claimed that Clinton should have been fired for the security lapses, while Senator McCain bravely redirected the discussion away from security and towards the larger issues of the US-Libya relationship. He bucked the consensus in Congress which holds that the US should invest more in security and less in ‘nation-building’ in societies in transition. McCain hit the nail on the head as he pointed out that Ambassador Stevens was inherently in danger in travelling to Benghazi, not because Americans are hated in Libya, but rather because the U.S. did not provide enough capacity building assistance to the Libyan authorities to help them construct central security mechanisms. He rightly acknowledged that American failings in Libya have been from engaging too little not too much.
Predictably, McCain’s fellow Republicans did not follow him into a high mind policy debate, rather they descended into a partisan blame game attempting to besmirch Obama’s entire approach to Libya – ignoring of course that it was merely a continuation of the Bush-era policy of engagement, deterrence, and détente.
Sparked by the urgency and politicization of the debate surrounding the “West’s Libya policy,” certain popular books have attempted to weigh in. A common theme has been to blame Western nations and multinational corporations for their role in the international “rehabilitation” of Gaddafi from 2003-2010. Lampooning Tony Blair for his “deal in the desert” has become common place in almost all British broadsheets. The standard argument holds the West as partially culpable for Gaddafi’s sins because it sold him sophisticated weapons and served him his Islamist enemies on a silver platter rather than sticking to Ronald Reagan’s un-nuanced aim of ousting “the mad dog of the Middle East.” This case is made most coherently in Ethan Chorin’s, Exit Gaddafi: The Hidden History of the Libyan Revolution (Saqi Books, October 2012).
Now read the actual article on the Spectator’s Book’s blog.
Review of Michael Willis’s Power and Politics in the Maghreb
Review of Power and Politics in the Maghreb: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco from Independence to the Arab Spring, by Michael J. Willis. (London: Hurst & Co, 2012.)
By Jason Pack and James Roslington in Middle East Journal Vol. 67, No. 1, Winter 2013
The 2011 Libyan Uprisings and the Struggle for the Post-Qadhafi Future
Building on my policy monograph, I am the editor of a Forthcoming book with Palgrave Macmillan: The 2011 Libyan Uprisings and the Struggle for the Post-Qadhafi Future. Its release date is June 2013. It is a work of contemporary history. As such, it analyzes the Libyan uprisings thematically and analytically rather than chronologically.
In 2011, spontaneous popular uprisings overthrew Muammar Qadhafi — one of the world’s most infamous tyrants. Paradoxically, Qadhafi’s own efforts to “reform” Libya’s economy and rebuild his country’s international relationships since 2003 set the stage for his downfall. Despite the enabling effects of twenty-first century communications technology and the aid of NATO jets, the 2011 Libyan uprisings were largely organized along traditional regional, local, and tribal cleavages. The future of post-Qadhafi Libya will be determined by a struggle between “center” and “periphery.” This contest has deep resonances in Libyan history. A work of contemporary political history, this volume analyzes the 2011 Libyan uprisings thematically — focusing on the role of economics, outside actors, tribes, ethnic minorities, and Islamists. This volume’s contributors include the British Ambassador to Libya during the uprisings, the President of the American University of Cairo, a former commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the world’s leading academic and security specialists in Libyan affairs.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Center and the Periphery by Jason Pack
Chapter 1: Civil War and Civil Activism by George Joffé
Chapter 2: Dynamics of Continuity and Change by Youssef Mohammed Sawani
Chapter 3: The Post-Qadhafi Economy by Ronald Bruce St John
Chapter 4: The Role of Outside Actors by Ambassador Richard Northern and Jason Pack
Chapter 5: The Rise of Tribal Politics by Wolfram Lacher
Chapter 6: The South by Henry Smith
Chapter 7: Islamists by Noman Benotman, Jason Pack, and James Brandon
Afterword: Libya—A Journey From Extraordinary to Ordinary by Lisa Anderson
Transforming Libya’s Ungoverned Spaces through Development
In Transforming Libya’s Ungoverned Spaces through Development , I use the assassination attempt on the Libyan PM in Sebha as a jumping off point to explain how Libya can never achieve security unless the economy is kick started. The article focuses on the Southwestern province of Fezzan and how critical it remains to larger developments in the Sahel region and Libya’s coastal regions.
As political posturing surrounding the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens four months ago continues to dominate news about Libya in the Western media, Libya has silently reached the crossroads. Vast swathes of the country are on the verge of becoming ungovernable, while the new democratically elected Libyan authorities are struggling to gain traction in the hinterlands and to prevent local powerbrokers from enshrining their own fiefdoms.
As the focus of the current Ali Zidan government remains squarely on security – narrowly defined and implemented via old-fashioned mechanisms such as imposing military governance and co-opting militiamen with handouts – national infrastructure planning and getting the cranes moving has lagged. Yet, to achieve security, the economy must create wealth, jobs and a sense of inclusion for all of Libya’s regions.
The Fezzan urgently needs to be integrated into the rest of Libya via infrastructural investment, job creation, demobilisation of militias and strategic partnerships with outside universities and corporations. The current crisis represents a great opportunity. One can only hope Libya does not become yet another example in a long list of wasted opportunities and wasted revolutions.
Rooting Out Extremists in Libya
Well here is a first: The first time a Congressman has gone out of his way to respond to an article of mine. In this instance, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) has totally missed the point of my article and accused me of misquoting him (although I did not) while totally dodging the substantive point about how his remarks inhibit understanding and cooperation between the US and Libya. Moreover, Brad Sherman misses that if the US is concerned about Libya (or Cyrenaica in particular) becoming an ungoverned space where terrorists can operate than we have to diplomatically engage in Libya and help with capacity building and the forging of institutions like a national army and not take the approach of Sherman, that is to simply lambast the Libyans and claim that their government contains “evil jihadist elements” and should be doing more to fight terror. It is high time for Rep. Sherman to grow up and see the world in all its nuances and to ignore the simplistic narrative of his constituents.
Jason Pack’s op-ed on January 4, 2013, entitled “Another missed opportunity on Benghazi,” misstated my remarks at a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on December 20, 2012. Mr. Pack quoted me as referring to the Libyan government as “a coalition… which includes some of the most evil jihadist elements imaginable.” I actually stated that, “The fact is, this is a government that is a coalition that includes, or at least countenances, some of the most evil jihadist elements imaginable.”
Another Missed Opportunity on Benghazi
Here is my latest on what US politicians and statesmen should actually be saying and thinking about Libya rather than engaging in the blame game over the Ambassador’s death. I warn against the dangers of the US securitizing its bilateral relationship with Libya and instead call for Congress to double down on capacity building assistance and committing itself to helping the Libyan government consolidate its authority.
Yet again the Obama Administration has missed an opportunity to turn a crisis into a sincere reassessment of the unsustainability of America’s current policies. And I’m not talking about the president’s compromises to avert the fiscal cliff, but rather his December 30 statement about the Benghazi attack.Given the state of (mis-)understanding of Libyan realities on the Hill, it is unsurprising that Congress seeks to treat the new Libyan government as untrustworthy partners and therefore seek to securitize our bilateral relationship. This is exactly the wrong policy. It certainly would not have prevented fifty jihadists armed with rocket launchers from incinerating the Special Mission in Benghazi.
After reflection on the facts, the incoming secretary of State should reject this Beltway consensus and instead empower our diplomats to open training facilities, hospitals, and American cultural centers – as Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi to do.Therefore, rather than engaging in the blame game and securitizing our relationship with Libya, Congress should unveil a package of targeted capacity-building assistance. We share many objectives and values with the Libyan people and their current leadership. Helping them build their country and construct functional institutions is a far better investment for our scarce resources than any state-of-the-art fortified compound.
Finally an elected Libyan cabinet, but is it fearsome enough to govern?
My latest opinion piece for AJE asks the question, “Finally an elected Libyan cabinet, but is it fearsome enough to govern?” When all the ministers are finally sworn in after delays, more delays, further delays, investigations, and possible replacements, I hope that we have the chance to answer in the affirmative.
After yet another last minute delay, it now appears that on November 14th, Libya’s first elected cabinet will finally be sworn into office, possibly without six key ministers who are under investigation. They will replace the interim non-elected one which should have been replaced nearly two months ago and has been governing as a lame-duck since July…After this wearying wait, the prevailing wisdom is that the new cabinet will combine technocratic competence with the full legitimacy of being selected by an electoral body, and Libya’s most intractable problems can finally be tackled head on….Until now, none of the leaders of post-Gaddafi Libya (elected or unelected, military or civilian) have shown the ability to put aside their factional or personal interests and take the bold steps the country needs. Will Ali Zidan’s government be able to provide that? The jury is still out.
It is a positive sign that Ali Zidan has refused to give in to militia demands to reshuffle his cabinet immediately but instead will wait for the committee to make its recommendations, showing that in a few instances, the legitimate central government can stand up to the self-appointed armed few.
We assert [that] the GNC cannot blame the security situation for its inability to create jobs and rebuild Libya. It must use its control over the oil spigots and purse strings in a clever manner to lead the country forward into a brighter future.
The GNC and the new government have the elected mandate to lead. They can only do so successfully if they encourage citizens to exercise their right to political participation without allowing a minority to resort to making demands at the point of a gun and subverting Libya’s transition to democracy in the process.
2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance: Governance in Libya (in Gaddafi Era) ‘Imbalanced’
An Analysis by the Tripoli Post of 2012 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance: Governance in Libya (in Gaddafi Era) ‘Imbalanced’
Jason Pack, president of Libya-Analysis.com, was sceptical of some of the findings of the Index and commented that the data that make up the health score (maternal and child mortality, some basic immunisations, treatment of some diseases) only look at a certain basic standard of health, and gives Libya a surprisingly high health score of 98/100. By most accounts, Libya requires expansion to existing healthcare facilities, the building of new facilities, and improvements in the quality of healthcare. When asked by The Tripoli Post what the Libyan government could do to achieve a better rating next year Mr Pack replied that Libya has much potential, provided that security is achieved; other reform areas hinge upon this key principle.
“Libya still needs to make improvements in disarming and demobilising the brigades to build effective government security forces that are able to uphold and protect the rule of law. The current government needs to work to prevent the kind of corruption that flourished in the Gaddafi era and continued into the NTC period in certain instances in the absence of accountability. They should also work on improving public management. Once safety and the rule of law are achieved, then major improvements in sustainable economic opportunity through infrastructure improvements and a better business environment are possible.”
Jason Pack on Al-Jazeera’s 23/10/12 Inside Story
With Libya increasingly back in the news since the tragic 9/11 attack in Benghazi and the prominence given to this issue in the Presidential Debates (it was the first question in the foreign policy debate), Al-Jazeera’s 23/10/12 Inside Story tackles the subject of Libyan internal politics one year after the country was liberated from Col. Qadhafi. The show’s three guests were: Abdelmonem Alyasser, a Libyan MP and a member of the National Security Committee; Jason Pack, a researcher of Libyan history at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge University; and Faraj Najem, a Libyan historian and author of Tribes, Islam and the State of Libya.
The show is 24 minutes long and there are no commercials. It starts with a 4 minute intro to the topic and then there are three guests of which I was one. I have three extended (i.e. over a minute long) segments where I speak. So if you want to cut just to those bits: They begin at 4:40, 10:05, and 17:10. You can watch all my segments in less than 5 minutes.
Year After Gaddafi Death Libya Confronts Successes and Failures
Year After Gaddafi Death Libya Confronts Successes and Failures a succinct summary of the main issues from Leela Jacinto of France 24.
In the long term though, the solution lies in disbanding the militias and putting together a professional national army. But that, notes Pack, is easier said than done, given the political hurdles facing the nation. In the three months since the national assembly election, two new prime ministers have been appointed, neither of which has been able to present a cabinet list that satisfied legislators. “Even if the politicians want to crack down on the militias, they can’t do that because they need a cabinet and bureaucracy first,” explained Pack.
In a country that moved from colonialism to monarchy to dictatorship, democracy is a new phenomenon, and Libyans are slowly learning the ropes – some would say too slowly. “Some Libyan intellectuals understand that it’s a win-together or lose-together situation,” said Pack. “But the politicians aren’t acting that way.”
Democracy is Messy – Especially in Libya
My latest op-ed on Libya’s cabinet crisis in the Guardian’s Comment is Free, co-authored with my new Director of Research Haley Cook: Democracy is Messy – Especially in Libya.
After Abushagur’s list was voted down, he was allowed to present an emergency replacement cabinet list. This was swiftly defeated – triggering a successful no confidence vote against him and reopening the process of selecting a new prime minister.
Libya’s already weak central authorities will now be left without a proper government for another few weeks, at exactly the time that they need to crack down on the militias and Islamist radicals who attacked the American mission in Benghazi, killing ambassador Chris Stevens.
It is rumoured that the NFA and the Justice and Construction party are in back-channel negotiations. If an agreement were to materialise – which would have been unthinkable a month ago – it could produce a solid unity government able to take the necessary bold decisions to crack down on the militias and renew major public infrastructure projects.
It must also be remembered that despite the cabinet crisis there is not a complete power vacuum in Libya. The democratically elected Congress is still in place and despite the terrorist attack on the American mission, Libyans have spontaneously united to denounce violence and rebuild their nation.
It is far too early to predict the demise of the Libyan democratic experiment.
Libya Awaits Announcement of New Government
Libya Awaits Announcement of New Government by AFP explains Abu Shagur’s miscalculation in proposing a cabinet dominated by his allies in the Al-Kib government.
Analysts said Abu Shagur faces an uphill task. “The first challenge is security,” said Jason Pack, a Libyan history researcher at Cambridge University and president of online repository libya-analysis.com. “The central government does not yet have sufficient military capacity to provide adequate security for its own parliamentary offices, let alone for the complex process of disarming and demobilising the hundreds of militias,” he added.
Carlo Binda, director of the US-based National Democratic Institute’s Libya branch, said Abu Shagur to his credit had “shown sensitivity and political sophistication by appointing deputies and ministers from each of the regions”. Binda downplayed the Zawiyah protest’s significance, saying it reflected one “local grievance”, and stressed that regional and tribal politics were not the main reason the GNC rejected his proposed Cabinet.
“It was rejected for a collection of reasons… You can’t possibly satisfy each and every interest when trying to compose a Cabinet. Then you would have a Cabinet of six million people,” Binda said. Pack agreed: “Anyone in Abu Shagur’s position would be hard-pressed to come up with a list that could please everybody.”
11 Killed As Libyans Depose Benghazi Militias
In late breaking developments, the anti-militia protests and occupations of militia bases have expanded their scope. Some pro-GNC militias bases were also occupied. AFP reports these happenings in 11 Killed As Libyans Depose Benghazi Militias — Ansar Al Sharia members flee as protesters storm and torch its compound which quotes Jason Pack framing the big picture.
Libyan protesters ousted a jihadist militia from its headquarters and seized a raft of other paramilitary bases in second city Benghazi early Saturday in heavy clashes that left 11 people dead.
But to the alarm of senior officials, the demonstrators also stormed a raft of other paramilitary bases in the city controlled by former rebel units that had declared their loyalty to the central government.
“We came peacefully and asked them with our loudspeakers to disarm,” said protester Nasser Saad, stressing that armed reinforcements only came after the demonstration was attacked. But one of the brigade’s fighters, Ahmad Faraj, insisted that the goal of the attackers was not the suppression of militias but the seizure of the base’s armoury. “They were coming to take our weapons,” he said. “We are part of the ministry of defence, we fought in the revolution, we can’t just walk away and hand over heavy weapons to a bunch of drunks and criminals.” National assembly chief Mohammad Al Megaref, who had initially welcomed the Benghazi protest, urged the demonstrators to withdraw from the bases of loyal brigades. He named Raf Allah Al Sahati and February 17 Brigades, and Shield Libya. Libya specialist Jason Pack said that the scale of the anti-militia protest in Benghazi showed the “depth and breadth of support for the United States that prevails in Libya in the wake of the attack on Ambassador Chris Stevens.”
“Now with the people calling for a hardline anti-militia policy, Libyan leaders may find themselves steeled with the requisite courage to purge these groups from the Libyan body politic,” Pack said.
Amid Chants of ‘Free Libya, Terrorists Out,’ a Nation at a Crossroads
Jason Pack with Andrea Khalil in The Wall St. Journal on how and why the majority of Libyans support the USA not only in an abstract sense but wish for increased American engagement in their country. It may be behind a firewall. So I’m presenting many of the sections here.
September 11th now signifies a national tragedy not only for the United States but also for Libya. The killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi during LAST Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. MISSION has upset the delicate political transition from dictatorship to democracy that was unfolding here in Libya. It also has obscured parliament’s prudent selection LAST Wednesday evening of Mustafa Abushagour—a moderate Islamist and respected technocrat—as prime minister. Yet spontaneous street demonstrations THROUGHOUT THE WEEK denouncing the attack AND SEEKING TO PRESSURE THE GOVERNMENT TO ACT AGAINST ITS PERPETRATORS suggest that Libyans are determined to build an inclusive society, free from fear.
According to a recent Gallup poll, Libyans hold a more favorable attitude toward Americans than even Canadians. This is in STARK contrast to the situation in Egypt, Yemen, and elsewhere, where the storming of the American embassies seems to have been a grass-roots undertaking.
As days have passed since the attack on the consulate, Libyans’ popular condemnation has only amplified. A meeting took place on Thursday evening at the Shbelia Hotel in order to coordinate CITIZEN action against the militants. The people who attended also wanted to goad the government into reining in the myriad militias that fought the struggle against Gadhafi and have since deepened their hold on local politics since his ouster. According to one activist, “There is no government response—because there is no government.”
On Thursday, Prime Minister Abushagour issued a strong statement condemning the attack, expressing solidarity with the U.S., and promising to bring the criminals to justice. THIS IMMEDIATELY PROMPTED TALK of an upcoming government offensive to shut down all the roads in eastern Libya and sweep for militants. FRIDAY, BENGHAZI’S BENINA AIRPORT WAS CLOSED TO LIMIT ESCAPE OF SUSPECTS. Despite such HIGH HOPES and at least SIXTEEN arrests, experts doubt that the Libyan authorities have the firepower or organizational know-how to tackle the nonstate actors in their midst. Moreover, this attack has further added to the perception that the Libyan government does not effectively control the territory it supposedly governs. BY SATURDAY AS THE GRAND SWEEP HAD NOT MATERIALIZED, PUBLIC PRESSURE MOUNTED FOR BOLDER GOVERNMENT ACTION.
CIVIL SOCIETY AND YOUTH ACTIVISTS PLANNED A ” FRIDAY TO RESCUE BENGHAZI” DEMONSTRATION. TRIBAL SHEIKHS FROM ACROSS EASTERN LIBYA MEET TO COORDINATE THEIR LOCAL EFFORTS TO COLLECT WEAPONS AND PRESSURE THE GOVERNMENT TO DISSOLVE MILITIAS. ALL WHO SPOKE AT THE MEETING READ STATEMENTS CONDEMING THE VILE KILLING OF THE US AMBASSADOR.
GIVEN THE PROFOUND WEAKNESS OF THE LIBYAN GOVERNMENT, IT CANNOT FILL THE SECURITY VACUUM ALL BY ITSELF. How, then, could there be a silver lining to this tragedy for both the U.S. and Libya? IT could prompt LIBYANS TO DECISIVELY UNITE AGAINST THE EXTREMISTS AND NONSTATE ACTORS IN THEIR MIDST WHILE ALSO GOADING the U.S. to INCREASE capacity-building assistance to the Libyan people—helping them construct the requisite institutions for a democratic and prosperous future. In the words of Sen. John McCain, “Libya is wealthy. It does not need our money . . . It needs our technical expertise.” Based on our observation, popular sentiment throughout Libya longs for such increased international cooperation.
Honoring Chris Stevens
My Latest in FP– Honoring Chris Stevens : How the U.S. ambassador killed this week in Benghazi would have handled Libya.
I met Ambassador Stevens on a handful of occasions. He was a casual and approachable man who boasted an impressive personal touch. His killing is not only a tragedy for both Americans and Libyans — it is an attack on the engagement efforts between the two countries that he symbolized. It is no small irony that Stevens was killed as he was in Benghazi to open up an American cultural center. The likely long-term effect of this tragedy is that the U.S. mission in Benghazi will be shut down indefinitely, and plans to open a full consulate will be shelved. This is terrible news for the new Libya: Benghazi needs the mission, the cultural center, and the consulate to help overcome its decades of isolation under Muammar al-Qaddafi.
Amid a week filled with tragedy, Libya took another step forward: On Sept. 12, the GNC convened to elect Mustafa Abu Shagur as prime minister, making him the first truly elected leader in the country’s history. So joyous was this news that many Libyans resumed their habit of firing celebratory rounds into the night sky. Abu Shagur knows that the security situation must be his top priority, but building the fledgling Libyan security services will require active Western, and especially American, involvement. The goal of the consulate attack was to scare away just such assistance. To prevail over the terrorists, the United States must remain involved in Libyan capacity building. As I wrote back in February, there is much more the United States can do to help its Libyan allies, including serving as a matchmaker between Libyan officials and the American private sector and engaging with moderate Islamists and mainstream militias.
Before the attack, there was a sense that Libya’s sporadic violence consisted of regional or tribal conflicts that did not pose much direct threat to foreigners. It will be extremely dangerous if this healthy perception shifts. If America cuts and runs or lashes out in revenge, security and stability will deteriorate, foreign direct investment will dry up, and the Libyan economy outside of the oil sector will stagnate. That will provide fertile soil for the worst elements inside Libya to regain a foothold.
Carefully crafted American engagement can help restore positive momentum to the political transition currently underway in Libya. In the wake of the savage killing of its ambassador, it’s time for the United States to double down.
The Bomb Attacks in Libya: Are Gaddafi Loyalists Behind Them?
The Bomb Attacks in Libya: Are Gaddafi Loyalists Behind Them?: Or are the jihadists? The incidents pile up even as the newly elected government has not quite established a security regimen — An article by Time Magazine’s Steven Sotloff which quotes me.
“We know that Gaddafi loyalists are behind these bombings” says a source close to the country’s newly elected president Muhammad Muqaryef. In the last few months, the security services have intensified the campaign against the late dictator’s loyalists in strongholds such as Bani Walid and Tarhuna. In a recent interview with TIME, Prime Minister Abdel Rahmin al-Kib noted that a bomb making cell in Tripoli was captured, yielding much information about how the loosely organized cells operate.
Some however believe jihadists are behind the bombings because many of the attacks have singled out Western targets such as the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and convoys carrying the British ambassador and the United Nations special envoy to Libya.
Some Libyan analysts believe the government has found a convenient scapegoat in the disgruntled loyalists. “It’s easy for the government to blame Gaddafi supporters for the violence,” explains Anas El Gomati, Director of Governance and Security at Al Sadeq Institute. But the real culprit is government negligence he says. “It’s a case of violence in a vacuum.”
The National Transitional Council (NTC), the interim government that overthrew Qaddafi received low marks for its handling of the post revolution security situation. It failed to stabilize the country and demobilize the more than 100,000 fighters who toppled the former regime. “The problem is that Libya is awash in groups with grievances against the central authorities combined with easy access to guns, money, and bomb making materials,” notes Jason Pack, a researcher of Libyan history at Cambridge University.
Were the attacks in Tripoli actually conducted by Qadhafi loyalists?
In an extensive French-language interview with France 24, I explain how it is unlikely that Qadhafi loyalists actually conducted the August 19th attacks in Tripoli, yet it is quite likely that the GNC’s stating this helps them rally the Libyan people against the attackers.
Selon les autorités libyennes, un groupe resté fidèle à Mouammar Kadhafi serait lié aux attentats meurtriers survenus dimanche à Tripoli. Une assertion difficilement vérifiable, selon Jason Pack, chercheur à Cambridge.
Comme lors des précédentes attaques, les autorités libyennes ont presque immédiatement accusé des partisans de l’ancien régime de Mouammar Kadhafi. “Nous sommes sûrs que c’est le travail des forces fidèles à Kadhafi”, déclarait tout ainsi le vice-ministre libyen de l’Intérieur, Omar al-Khadhraoui, sur l’antenne de FRANCE 24.
Une assertion “difficile à prouver”, selon Jason Pack, chercheur en histoire du Moyen-Orient à l’université de Cambridge et président de Libya-Analysis.com. “C’est le motif que le gouvernement libyen donne quand il y a une attaque. C’est une façon de rassembler l’opinion contre les assaillants, quelles que soient leurs motivations”, ajoute-t-il.
Toutefois, Jason Pack reste optimiste : “Ce ne sont pas une ou deux attaques qui vont interrompre le processus en cours en Libye”.
What Lies Ahead for Libya: An interview with the Prime Minister
Al-Keib expresses his views to Time Magazine in What Lies Ahead for Libya: An interview with the Prime Minister.
Keib suggested the best way to defuse the burgeoning crisis was to increase decentralization by empowering municipalities and provinces, and moving a number of government companies to marginalized regions. “People must feel that they are a part of the whole process and they are getting their share,” he explained.
His decentralized vision sounds much like the one Gaddafi tried and failed to implement in the late 1980s. In the wake of a 1986 American bombing, a vulnerable Gaddafi sought to spread out his government, bent on preventing a repeat of the devastating attack that paralyzed the capital. But after a few years, he returned the ministries back to Tripoli, when he realized that little work could be accomplished with institutions spread out over the vast desert country. Some analysts believe instituting a decentralized model today would undermine the fragile Libyan state rather than strengthening peripheral support. “It would weaken the central government, making it difficult to improve security and secure the nation’s borders,” explained Jason Pack, a researcher of Libyan History at Cambridge University.
Keib does not discount his country’s problems but he remains optimistic. “Libya is going through a lot of very difficult times now,” he said as he headed out for his last meal before sunrise. “But overall it’s OK. I guarantee you it will be much better in the near future.”
Libya’s Next Step: A Panel on Voice of Russia Radio
I joined Michel Cousins Editor-in-Chief of the Libya Herald, Professor Saad Jawad of the LSE, and Ahmad Gibreel of the Libyan Mission in London on August 8th for a panel discussion on Voice of Russia Radio to discuss the handover of power to the elected government in Libya. Our wide ranging discussion touched upon the struggle between the Centre and the Periphery, the role of Sharia in the new Libya State, issues of federalism/decentralization, and the actions of the newly elected General National Council. This panel is accessible to the lay listener but contains enough details to be of interest to specialists.
The Problem with Removing Dictators
The Problem with Removing Dictators a hard hitting op-ed in Al-Jazeera English about the complexities of outside intervention in Syria. I make the argument that regional rather than outside intervention is key to resolving the crisis, while explaining in detail how outside intervention inherently short circuits organic nation building processes.
Instead of interpreting Annan’s departure as a definitive failure of diplomacy, the international community should take seriously his reasons for stepping down and heed his warnings both about Syria’s internal fragmentation and the risks of a divided international community turning Syria’s civil conflict into a multi-state proxy war. As he pointed out, much more important than removing Bashar al-Assad is what happens afterwards. It is for these reasons that a consensus-based regional solution represents the best way forward, rather than one imposed from afar.
Before embarking on a new course that might culminate in military intervention, Western leaders should review their “success rate” at militarily removing dictators. Previous instances of regime decapitation not only removed the dictator but also destroyed the mechanisms that had been holding the state together, which led to greater instability and suffering. The main reason for this is that, since the European empires have been decolonised, the world’s most brutal tyrants have emerged in the most volatile parts of the former colonial empires. These dictators and their supporters forcibly held together states that are not always considered “nations”.
In the absence of a “strongman”, such states require organic processes to formulate new identities and viable, inclusive institutions. Outside intervention short-circuits this. Although direct outside intervention can create space for political transformation, it also runs the risk of short-circuiting that very process by fashioning and supporting power centres willing to collaborate at the expense of home-grown actors.
The real question after June’s Houla Massacre, July’s withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission, and Annan’s resignation in early August is not how to get Russia and China to support a Western-led UN Security Council Resolution on international intervention in Syria.
Instead, it is how the Syrian people might construct their own national institutions, national identity, and sufficient unity to tackle the trials they will face after Assad. Getting the regional powers that are funding and arming the Syrian opposition – reportedly primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey – to coordinate their efforts and achieve some degree of unanimity with more hesitant regional players such as Lebanon and Iraq would help not only resolve the crisis but could help build unity inside the Syrian opposition. Such a development would have the makings of the regional solution that we advocated for months ago in the Christian Science Monitor.
Article Length German-language Interview of Jason Pack concerning the Libyan Elections
Here is some special content for any German Speakers that may frequent Libya-Analysis.com. It is an article length interview for the Austrian Newspaper Der Standard about the larger context of the Libyan Elections and my views and analysis of them.
derStandard.at: Die “New York Times” sieht in dem vermutlichen Wahlsieg der liberalen Allianz von Mahmud Jibril in Libyen einen Fels in der islamistischen Brandung, die seit dem Arabischen Frühling konservative Kräfte in die neuerdings demokratisch gewählten Parlamente der Region spült. Richtig?
Jason Pack: Wer das so sieht, der missversteht das libysche Wahlsystem, das nur zum Teil auf Parteilisten beruht, zum Großteil aber auf der lokalen Kandidatur von Einzelpersonen. Das ist ein großer Unterschied zu den Wahlen in Tunesien und Ägypten. Man kann theoretisch auf Parteiebene gewinnen und trotzdem keine Mehrheit im Parlament haben, weil die Abgeordneten, die in den Bezirken gewählt wurden, anders stimmen.
derStandard.at: Ist die Gefahr, dass Libyen in zwei oder mehr Teile zerfällt, gebannt?
Pack: Der Diskurs in Libyen dreht sich weit stärker um Föderalismus als um regionale Unabhängigkeit. Auch die Föderalisten in der Cyrenaika, die am Tag vor der Wahl einen Hubschrauber abgeschossen haben, streben nicht wirklich einen eigenen Staat an, sondern wollen eine gleichgestellte Vertretung mit Tripolitanien und eine sehr dezentralisierte Regierungsform. Sie fordern zum Beispiel gleich viele Sitze im Parlament, obwohl die Cyrenaika nicht einmal ein Drittel der Bevölkerung hat. Ich glaube nicht, dass eine Aufspaltung Libyens machbar ist, es funktioniert schon nicht in puncto Infrastruktur.
Libya’s Election: Uncertainty before and after
My latest on Al Jazeera English Opinion Libya’s Election: Uncertainty before and after. On the eve of Libya’s historic election, much is at stake but little is certain.
The interim government has often pointed to its lack of an elected mandate as a reason for making no decisions that would have a key long-term impact. Only the July 7 election can remove this excuse for political (and, by extension, economic) paralysis.
Should elections be further pushed back until after the month of Ramadan (which begins on July 20), this window of opportunity for post-war political progress, once missed, may never re-appear. First of all, the election itself, even though based on an arbitrary draft constitutional declaration written by the NTC, would maintain faith in the political process. More importantly, in the continued absence of a legitimate central decision-making authority to disarm and demobilise Libya’s remaining armed brigades, there would be a greater potential for isolated incidents of violence to spiral into a state of chaos and stagnation.
While the General National Congress election will bring new top level leadership, it will not itself change the balance of power between the central government and local militia. Regional bickering and wrangling will, no doubt, continue, but will those dramas play out with the most powerful armed groups – those of Zintan and Misrata – again using coercive means to secure important posts in the new government and potentially ruin it? Will enough of the framers of Libya’s new constitution favour federalism to derail the forging of national unity? Will they choose a presidential or parliamentary system? Neither the most informed outside pundits nor the Libyans themselves can state with any degree of confidence what the future may hold. Libya, like the other Arab Spring countries, remains a work in progress whose fortunes cannot be foretold, and will likely be fundamentally affected by honest mistakes, fortunate and unfortunate circumstances and coincidences – and disappointing false starts.
ICC Captive Is Pawn in Struggle between Militias and the NTC
My latest on Al-Jazeera English Opinion ICC Captive Is Pawn in Struggle between Militias and the NTC: Four ICC officials detained by Libyan militia are prisoners of the political chaos gripping the North African state.
The fault lines dividing the interim Libyan central government from both the militias and the international community are starkly illustrated by the ongoing saga surrounding the detention of four International Criminal Court (ICC) officials in Libya since June 7.
In today’s Libya, the NTC does not have a monopoly on force. Far from it. It is the plethora of regional militias that effectively control the country. This ongoing tug of war between the NTC and the militias does not bode well for Taylor and her colleagues. The most probable explanation for all the diplomatic manoeuvring is that the NTC simply lacks the power to compel the Zintani militia to release her, but simultaneously wishes to use the Taylor issue to stake out a populist position. Moreover, since Taylor’s incarceration on June 7, the Libyans have a powerful bargaining chip to trade for the ICC’s “determination” that Libya now possesses the judicial capacity to try Saif.
The NTC is clearly caught up in a zero-sum struggle for power with the militias, setting a bad precedent for the forging of a working relationship between the militias and the soon-to-be-elected new government. Caught in the whirlwind is Melinda Taylor, whose bosses at the ICC do not seem to appreciate how power is currently being contested in the new Libya. The ICC appears willing to appease the NTC, but what are they offering the Zintani militiamen who actually hold her captive? As far as I can tell, nothing.
Libya Wants ICC Hamstrung Via Aussie’s Capture
An article I co-authored for the Australian — Libya wants ICC hamstrung via Aussie’s capture
THE detention of International Criminal Court officials in Libya – including Australian Melinda Taylor – highlights the key fault lines in post-Gaddafi Libya among the central government, the militias and various international actors.
Taylor, a lawyer assigned to represent deposed dauphin Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, was incarcerated earlier this month for allegedly passing her client coded messages from Mohammad Ismael, a former Gaddafi-regime official wanted for war crimes.
Cognizant of its challenges, yet reluctant to relinquish its most prized prisoner, the NTC understood that another acrimonious meeting with ICC defense counsel would be detrimental to its case to try the younger Qadhafi. As Jihani told one of the authors in December, ‘if we don’t start to investigate and prosecute Saif, the demand to turn him over to the ICC will come.’
In arresting Taylor and her colleagues, the NTC has sought to hamstring the ICC’s investigation while sending the court a message that Libya will not tolerate an infringement of its sovereignty.
Yemen as a Model for Syria’s Transition
The Libya Analysis team pere et fils write for Christian Science Monitor about the likely best case scenario for Syria — Look to Yemen as model for Syria’s transition after Bashar al-Assad: Recent history in Iraq and Libya shows that the departure of a tyrant can lead to a deterioration in stability and an increase in human suffering. In Syria, a Yemen-style transition (dictator forced into exile to be replaced by a transition figure) may be the best possible outcome.
Since the European empires have been decolonized, brutal tyrants have arisen to hold together the most volatile remnants of empire – states that are not really nations. Iraq, Syria, and Libya are just a few examples of colonial amalgamations of different sectarian, ethnic, or regional groups.
In the 20th century, the colonial overlords and then their post-colonial strongmen replacements kept their internal fissures in check by force. Understanding this history, UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan is right to be wary of military intervention in Syria and to seek regional support for a political transition there. An ill-conceived international intervention to remove Assad – especially if it lacked regional support – could easily unleash a war of all against all.
Looking to Yemen – which many have called a failed state – as a model for anything may seem counterintuitive. The country is fraught with internal strife, high rates of poverty, drought, drug abuse, and Islamist terrorism. But Annan and others have hinted that the recent process for political transition in Yemen is the one they hope to largely duplicate in Syria.
A few tweaks to Annan’s proposals would improve its chances of success. First, the path to peace in Syria requires an “imposed non-military solution.” This would be a political transition driven by outside powers with broad international support.
Libya’s Missteps Threaten Descent into Federalism
My AJE Opinion piece and latest salvo against Federalism, co-authored with Ronald Bruce St John and featuring some commentary about the tough week Libya just had – Libya’s missteps threaten descent into federalism: Decentralisation in the north African state would cause strife, waste, and bloated bureaucracies.
It is finally official: Libya’s elections will be delayed from their scheduled date of June 19 and held on July 7. This unsurprising decision followed on the heels of the Libyan Election Commission repeatedly leaking news about a delay since late April. However, the Commission’s decision to wait until the proverbial eleventh hour before announcing the delay strikes many Libyans and outside observers as representative of the National Transitional Council’s (NTC) many missteps since Gaddafi’s fall and their inability to establish a functioning administration.
It also capped one of the least encouraging weeks in post-Gaddafi Libya’s brief history. On the morning of June 5,militiamen from Tarhouna (50km south of Tripoli) stormed the international airport and President Mustafa Abdel-Jalil instantly caved into their demand that their imprisoned militia leader be released. On Tuesday night, the American Consulate in Benghazi was bombed, likely a revenge for the American assassination of top al-Qaeda official Abu Yahya Al-Libi in a drone strike in Pakistan the previous day. On Thursday, a rally of armed Salafists and Islamists took place along the waterfront in Benghazi. They were campaigning for the immediate imposition of Islamic Sharia law.
Set against this background, the significance of Saturday’s official postponement of the elections comes into clearer focus. The NTC is in control of neither the country nor the bureaucracy. Despite these failings, they must succeed in their most important task, their very reason d’etre: transition power to an elected government.
Bernard-Henri Levy and the West’s Intervention in Libya: A Discussion with Experts
Jason Pack commented tersely: “Gaddafi considered OK in today’s Libya? That isn’t what Libyans are saying: as frustrated as many are with today’s lack of security, no one wants to go back to a strongman. Besides, why discuss now whether Libya would have been better off with or without intervention? Political analysts don’t deal with counterfactuals. The current situation in Libya post-liberation may have deteriorated due to the NTC’s poor ability to consolidate power, with the militias left largely in control, but none of this means that the NATO No-fly zone and the concept of intervention per se wasn’t morally and strategically justified and successful executed. The West helped a genuinely Libyan movement to overthrow their dictator.”
Uncertainty Abounds Around Elections and Federalism
Libya: Uncertainty abounds around Elections and Federalism – By Jason Pack and Ronald Bruce St John
It is all but official that, Libya’s elections will be delayed. But by how long nobody knows. The Libyan Election Commission has repeatedly leaked news about a delay but made it clear that they are still not ready to announce it officially. Simultaneously, they have semi-officially promised the public that the delayed elections will take place before Ramadan begins on July 20th. This game of shadows and mirrors borders on the surreal, given that the elections’ scheduled date, June 19th, is less than two weeks away. Borrowing from Churchill ‘[We] cannot forecast to you the action of [Libya]. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key’.
Yet in early June, Western Diplomats stationed in Tripoli were anonymously stating that the overarching reason for the imminent delay is that the ballot papers will not be ready on time. On the other hand, the Election Commission themselves have attempt to justify the ‘potential’ delay by pointing to the fact that the finalized list of candidates and parties was just released on Tuesday, June 5th, which would only allow for two weeks of campaigning — clearly not enough to allow voters to make informed decisions. Many speculate that the real rationale underlying this song and dance is that if a delay were announced presently, the Election Commission is not yet sure it would be able to hold the elections by the new date. While the Egyptians and Tunisians have both managed to hold their elections on time, the Libyans seem not even prepared enough to be able to delay their elections coherently. In short, true to form, uncertainty reigns in post-Qaddafi Libya.
Megrahi’s Death—An End to a Century of Mistrust?
My Al Jazeera Op-ed about how the century old politics of mistrust between the West and Libya must end.
Western politicians should no longer refer to Lockerbie when dealing with Libya’s new leadership.
Libya’s relationship with the West has long been fraught with many paradoxes. Despite being almost entirely dependent on Western expertise and markets to produce and conusme its oil, former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi pursued virulently anti-Western foreign policies…. As long as Megrahi lived, he symbolised a century of mistrust. With his passing, a new era of cooperation may blossom.
Review of Del Boca’s Mohamed Fekini and the Fight to Free
Review of Mohamed Fekini and the Fight to Free Libya, by Angelo Del Boca (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
By Jason Pack in Middle East Journal Vol. 66, No. 2, May 2012
Libya: NTC Must Assert Itself And Consign Federalism To The Dustbin Of History
Libya: NTC Must Assert Itself And Consign Federalism To The Dustbin Of History — My Article in African Arguments
In the run-up to the June elections many militias and civil society organizations are lambasting the interim government’s mission to centralize authority rather than, more importantly, its lacklustre results at achieving that task. On March 5th, notables in Benghazi – Libya’s second city and capital of the Eastern region of Cyrenaica – proposed to compensate for the ineffectiveness of the central NTC authorities by asking them to relinquish certain powers to sub-state bodies such as an autonomous Cyrenaican provincial government. On April 17th, they met again to demand that NTC authorities change the election law and stake their claim to Libya’s resource rich Sirte basin.
Federalism in Libya: Tried and Failed
Federalism in Libya: Tried and Failed – An Al Jazeera Opinion Commentary
Given Libya’s history and infrastructure, appeasement of local actors via regional autonomy is a recipe for disaster.
In today’s Libya, local is king. Today’s Libya requires the rapid creation of nation-wide institutions and human capital that Libyan history shows is incompatible with federalism.
In the long term, enshrining a federal system would almost certainly doom the implementation of any coherent, countrywide development plan.
Libya Violence Puts Poll Timing at Risk
Libya violence ‘puts poll timing at risk’ by AFP– contains quotes and analysis from most of the Libya guild.
“Militias and local citizen groups constitute the primary barrier to stability, reconstruction and a democratic transition,” said Jason Pack, a researcher at Cambridge University and president of Libya-Analysis.com.
But Pack said the polls are likely be postponed — not because Libya is not ready or able to hold them on time, but because the NTC is failing to make the “difficult decisions needed to carry them out” on schedule.
Jason on Press TV’s Double Standards
Watch My appearance on Iranian State TV. My segment starts at 15:40. I Discuss why federalism won’t work in Libya and how Obama should and will do everything in his power to avert an Israeli attack on Iran. Don’t be bothered by the crazy anti-Western tone of the rest of the Double Standards program. It is meant to be satirical and not actually meant to be taken all that seriously.
Economists Interpretation of Van Creveld and Pack’s Thoughts on Iran
The Economist seized upon Van Creveld’s paradigm that nuclear proliferation is not a big deal and may even bring stability in a recent article. In so doing, they adopt my reading of both the threat of Syria turning into a failed state and how it could have a spillover effect onto the Iran situation.
Mr van Creveld’s main point, obviously, is that Israel and America are inflating the Iranian nuclear threat. “Iranians are rational people, they’re not interested in suicide,” he says. “As a nuclear power, Israel has very little to fear from an Iranian nuclear weapon.” In a Project Syndicate piece co-written with Jason Pack of Cambridge University earlier this month, Mr van Creveld argued that while the situation in Iran is not a grave threat to regional stability, it’s distracting us from the situation in Syria, which is. The violence “could spill over into Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel, increasing the risk of a regional conflagration… Events in Syria appear increasingly similar to the civil war in Lebanon in the 1980s.” An Israeli or American attack on Iran would vastly exacerbate the dangers, inflaming anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment and turning the Syrian conflict into a staging ground for radical Islamists.
Solve Syria, Leave Iran Alone
My In-Depth Al Jazeera English opinion piece “Solve Syria, leave Iran alone” with Martin Van Creveld. This article builds on our NYT article entitled “In the Arab Spring, Watch Turkey” which attacks the view that the West is involved in a Cold War with Iran as incorrect and demonstrates how Turkey is the primary victor of the Arab Spring.
The world must turn its attention to Syria, not Iran, to avoid escalation into a regional war.
The real threat is not Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, but Israel’s attempts to halt it, which would surely incur Iranian retaliation via the Strait of Hormuz. This would cause the price of oil to skyrocket to more than $200 a barrel and send the world’s major economies into sustained free fall. In fact, despite the faux solidarity that US President Barack Obama expressed at the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in early March, Israel’s sabre-rattling appears to be galvanising a US modus vivendi with Iran in order to avert an Israeli attack.
Now is not the time to provoke Iran, but rather to tend to Syria’s troubles before it is too late - for example, by publicly offering Assad a way out of the country that would safeguard the minority Alawite community if he were toppled or forced to flee. If the Syrian situation is ignored, its spill-over may inadvertently provoke Israeli or Iranian action, inciting a regional war and a global depression.
Preliminary Details of Book
I am editing a volume about the 2011 Libyan Uprisings. It builds on the central thesis of my monograph – that the the revolution in Libya was a series of discrete ‘Uprisings’ and that within the Uprisings the periphery conquered the centre.
The book will feature many of the world’s top Libya experts in the fields of diplomacy, economics, social media, military, etc. — each expert will contribute a chapter about a discrete aspect of the Uprisings.
I expect the book to be released in early to mid 2013. For more details about the contributors or the publisher stay posted. At this point these must remain top secret.
Hands On Syria, Hands Off Iran
Solve Syria, Don’t Provoke Iran a mini-magnum opus with Martin Van Creveld about why an Israeli attack on Iran would cause a global depression.
Acknowledging the virtual Armageddon that could follow from an ill-conceived attack on Iran is not appeasement. It is simply recognition of the reality that Israel and the West have little to fear from Iran – even an Iran with limited nuclear capacity.
Now is not the time to provoke Iran, but rather to tend to Syria’s troubles before it is too late – for example, by publicly offering Assad a way out of the country that will safeguard the minority Alawite community if he is toppled or forced to flee. If the Syria situation is ignored, its consequences could provoke Israeli or Iranian action, setting the region aflame and triggering a global depression.
Libya: NTC Must Exercise Authority And Tackle Militias
Libya: NTC Must Exercise Authority And Tackle Militias. This is the Libya Herald op-ed version of my monograph.
The current situation in Libya can best be characterized as a struggle pitting the ‘center’ that controls national institutions, the flow of oil, and billions in unfrozen assets against a marginalized ‘periphery’ that can challenge the center’s legitimacy via its use of force and appeal to local loyalties.
The key problem today is not security, per se, but rather a hesitant NTC that is often reluctant to exercise its authority — preferring negotiations and extending patronage networks to its opponents rather than swiftly enacting government decrees. At present, the NTC appears to be operating under a mistaken “security and legitimacy-first” doctrine which maintains that bold initiatives cannot be undertaken until further stability is achieved and an elected government takes office after the June elections. Paradoxically, only by redressing the current center-periphery imbalance can Libya achieve the security required to jump-start its economy and hold free and fair elections.
Summary of my Monograph Translated into Arabic
في أعقاب الحرب: الصراع على ليبيا في مرحلة ما بعد القذافي [Executive summary of my monograph translated into Arabic]
In War’s Wake: The Struggle for Post-Qadhafi Libya
My Monograph on Libya’s Militia Problem “In War’s Wake: The Struggle for Post-Qadhafi Libya”
During the 2011 uprisings in Libya, rebel militias emerged throughout regime-held territory, fighting Qadhafi’s forces despite being largely cut off from coordination with the center of opposition power. By revolution’s end, these peripheral militias were stronger than the interim government’s forces and had resorted to jockeying for power against each other via gun battles in downtown Tripoli. How can the international community help avoid further deterioration in a country devastated by months of war?
In this new study, Jason Pack and Barak Barfi explain why the United States must take a proactive stance in ensuring that Libyan authorities win the peace, not just the war. Although Washington cannot overtly interfere in the country’s internal politics, it can pave the way for NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, private firms, and foreign officials to help the National Transitional Council establish institutions capable of connecting with the periphery. Only then will the center be up to the crucial tasks of building capacity, jumpstarting the economy, and defeating the inherent centrifugal force of the militias.
U.S. Needs A Grand Strategy in Its Relationship with China
U.S. Needs A Grand Strategy not Grand Standing in its relationship with China. An op-ed I co-authored for the Australian with an old friend from Oxford, Brant Moscovitch.
Romney’s longstanding efforts to paint himselfas someone willing to ‘‘stand up to China’’ exemplifies an alarming trend of China-bashing in US politics.
It is understandable that US politicians of all stripes vie to be seen as the one most capable of clipping the wings of their
country’s pre-eminent challenger. Yet such grandstanding must not be confused with long-term strategic thinking.
Dean Acheson once famously quipped following World War II that Britain had ‘‘lost an empire, and has not yet found a role’’. In retrospect, the US has lacked a sense of its role in the world since 1991.
Qatar: Kingmakers in Syria?
Qatar: Kingmakers in Syria? My CNN article with Shashank Joshi on Qatar’s role in Syria expressing our take on Qatari motivations, capabilities, and limitations when it comes to intervention in Syria.
It used to be said that ‘when America sneezes, the world catches a cold’. In the new multipolar world, a new aphorism may be in order. For 2012, we propose: ‘when Qatar whispers, the tyrants whimper’.
Qatar has what Western powers lack in the Arab World: near-limitless reserves of disposable cash, a media network respected by Arab publics, and the ability to intervene with special forces and military trainers without risking tremendous blowback at home or in the court of international public opinion. Following their successes in Libya and buttressed by their expanding regional connections with ascendant Islamist movements and the new regional juggernaut Turkey, the Qataris have emerged as the quiet kingmakers. Alone, they cannot make things happen – but they can forge diplomatic coalitions, shape the popular narrative, and lend their unique skills to targeted interventions.
Qatar’s bold vision of involvement in post-Gadhafi Libya has already caused prominent figures in the National Transitional Council and the non-Islamist militias to speak out against Qatar’s meddling. The Arab League is also fundamentally divided. Two of Syria’s neighbors, Lebanon and Iraq, have no wish to go along with tougher measures – and could easily frustrate an embargo through their long land borders. Moreover, when Qatar has tried to broker peace deals in the Levant, as it did in Lebanon in 2008, more established regional powers were able to unravel the threads.
The Qataris seem to have mastered the role of agitators, facilitators, bankrollers, and power brokers – but punching so far above your weight can leave you perilously off balance.
NYT Article: In the Arab Spring, Watch Turkey
My Article with Van Creveld in the New York Times entitled “In the Arab Spring, Watch Turkey”. It attacks the view that the West is involved in a Cold War with Iran as incorrect and demonstrates how Turkey is the primary victor of the Arab Spring.
Moreover, Western observers have missed the primary thread of events — namely, the ongoing asymmetric Turkish-Iranian “soft” partition of the Arab republics. Concomitantly, the American position as regional hegemon is vanishing. Today, only the Arab monarchies and Israel continue to look to the United States as their primary patron.
To investigate how these changing dynamics are seen by actors within the region, one of us (Jason Pack) spent his Christmas holidays in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government, or K.R.G., in Iraq. Following the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, K.R.G. officials bemoaned their need of a regional patron to protect them from dominance by Baghdad.
Kurds Look to Old Enemies for Survival
Kurds Look to Old Enemies for Survival an Article by Jason Pack in The Australian. As the American withdrawal from Iraq leaves a void, Turkey is becoming the major power in Northern Iraq. This article was written in ERBIL, IRAQ [to view click here and scroll down and look to the right].
SINCE the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US has been allied with the Kurds in their drive for regional autonomy. Washington has been committed to maintaining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Iraqi state. As a result, the Bush and Obama administrations have failed to articulate a clear policy objective with respect to future US ties with the Kurdistan Regional Government. The US has left the field without formalising its role as security guarantor or nationbuilder in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Beauty Meets the Beast—Nancy Ajram Encounters Kurdistan
Erbil, Iraq—Beauty meets the Beast—aka Nancy Ajram, the Lebanese bombshell and Britney Spears of the Middle East, plays post-conflict Kurdistan
Tonight was Nancy Ajram’s first and presumably last ever concert in Iraq. Tickets were priced from $75 to $500, putting it within easy reach of the vast Armani wearing uber-elites that congregate in the capital of oil-rich Kurdistan.
My American companions and I arrived fashionably late because even though our house in the upscale Christian neighborhood of Ainkawa was a mere 10 minute walk from the concert, the cabbie we took to get there didn’t know where it was. Despite the fact that it was at the biggest banquet hall in Kurdistan and this concert is the biggest music happening the country has experience since Saddam’s fall, each time we asked for directions we got told to go in an entirely different direction, sometimes to different neighborhoods entirely. Erbil—called Howler in Kurdish—is a city in which half the buildings are less than eight years old and many of the nicer restaurants and government offices have only been open a couple of months. It was therefore, not that surprising that no one knows where anything is.
After arriving at the Galaxy hall and traversing an enormous dirt field, as the parking lot and roads leading to the hall are not yet built, we entered the brand-new, cavernous ball room and were haphazardly ushered to an empty table filled with half-eaten kabobs and soiled napkins. The hall seated about 1500 people arranged in tables of 8. It was 90% full. While listening to the debka style opening band, I approached a waiter and asked if we could have fresh kabobs (they were included in the ticket price). Three hours later when Nancy was almost done our food arrived. In the intervening period, I chatted with every waiter in the place and got a whole range of responses about the likelyhood of our being served. They ranged from a) your food will be out in five minutes to b) we are out of food as we only thought 1000 people would come but 1400 are here to c) everyone is being served sequentially and you are at the back of the room please just sit down and wait to d) I can’t bring you your food but go talk to the maitre d’ and maybe he can fix it.
Now, after waiting two hours during the hyper-repetitive opening act while starving, it was finally announced in Arabic that Nancy would be appearing if the audience just clapped and yelled loud enough. Then, at the top of their lungs, all the young Howlerians howled and the MC announced Nancy and the curtain covering the side door swung open. Droves of men surged towards the stage with their smart phones held above their heads to film her entrance. Rather than appearing on cue, ten minutes later she appeared and started singing, but the miking was so poor you could only hear the band and not her voice. Then, she stopped in the middle of the song to allow the MC to announce that everyone must return to their seats. Now all official communication in the concert hall was in Arabic. Advertisements, signs to the bathroom and backstage, the music sung by the warm up band, and of course the MCs communications to the audience.
It is unclear if this is the reason that stage commands were not heeded. For many young Kurds who were educated after 1991, Arabic is their third or fourth language. Generally, their native dialect of their regional or sectarian group is their first language (i.e. Kurmanji for northerners, Chaldean for Christians, Fayli for Shi’I Kurds, a nameless dialect for Yazidis, and some form of Sorani for most of the urban Sunni population etc.). Then their second language is Modern Standard Iraqi Sorani Kurdish which appears to be the official standardized language of the Kurdish Regional Government and is the official variant of the Sorani dialect traditionally prevalent in South Eastern Iraqi Kurdistan, which has increasingly become the literary language of Iraq Kurds over the last fifty years. The universally taught foreign language in school is English. Obviously, the American liberation/occupation and the Kurds’ position in the global economy makes English a necessity for individual success. However, some Kurds who have returned from the Diaspora are more likely to know German or Swedish as those are the centers of the Kurdish Diaspora. Arabic is, therefore, the fourth language of most of the Kurdish population and in some smaller towns, it is not spoken at all by people under thirty.
Yet it was in this language that Nancy was singing and that the MCs were trying to convey things to the crowd and encourage them to move back to their seats. For the next hour while Nancy tried in vain to sing the concert, the security failed to prevent people from standing up on chairs to take pictures, rushing towards the stage, blocking everyone’s view, and making so much noise that hearing her singing was impossible. After an hour or more, Nancy’s manager came on stage and told her to embrace the unstoppable by asking select women and men (particularly those with children or non-hijabed girlfriends and wives) to come on stage and have their picture taken with Nancy. This created a degree of order as everyone knew if they behave well they might be picked. But, the ruse only lasted about ten minutes as it became hyper-repetitive causing the natives to become restless. It also prevented singing from actually happening.
After Nancy had kissed many babies and let many women get their pictures with her taken by their brothers on their iphones, she announced, “Hadha ghayr haflat taswir, hiyya haflat musiqa. ‘Ibadu, ‘Ibadu min fadlaku wa khalni akun murtaha li ughani.” (This is not supposed to be a photo party but a concert, please give me some space so I can sing.) At this moment she stepped backwards away from the front edge of the stage, now instead of having the desired effect of causing people to back away from the stage, as she moved further and further back her security people also backpeddled causing a gap to appear between the security and the mob. With each step Nancy took backwards, the security also backpeddled and the mob surged into the gap. By the time Nancy was halfway back on the stage, scores of young Kurdish men were on the stage. By the time she had fled to the back of the stage behind the drums and stage equipment, the security men (all wearing black suits and red ties) were overwhelmed by the mob. Pinned against the wall, Nancy then knelt on the floor and the remnants of her security force formed a box around her, to prevent her from being molested. This worked for about a minute. Then, new audience members mobbed the stage –apparently to see what was happening — preventing the initial mob from retreating or advancing. After a few minutes of stalemate — during which time it was unclear what indignities she suffered — the concert lights were turned on and men in Peshmerga uniforms marched in from the back of the hall with AK-47s. This created a distraction ‘pulling’ the attention of members of the crowd away from the stage and towards the back of the hall. At this point, Nancy’s security team fought a rear-guard action to extricate her from the crowd by pushing and punching their way from the back of the stage to the side door. After surviving this nearly ten minute siege, Nancy was safely backstage, the lights were on, and the men with guns proceeded to clear out the concert hall.
At this point, the surreal began to turn into farce—the MC took the stage to address the mob as we exited the hall. Rather than berating the crowd members for being savages, a proof of Iraqi backwardness, the reason major Arab performers never come to Iraq, or an embarrassment to the Kurdish nation… The MC said ‘I see that Howler is very happy to have witnessed Nancy’s first concert in Iraq. She was very happy to sing for you as well. She apologizes that due to the crowd control and security issues that she will not be able to continue singing. The concert is now over, we are all happy, it was a great show, and we hope you have a wonderful evening. We apologize that Nancy did not get to sing the much anticipated premier of her new song in the Iraqi dialect which she hoped to unveil tonight. Please be safe and go home.’
Now on the way out, I looked at people’s faces and they did not seem shocked or angry. Then amidst the crowd, I noticed a woman in her mid forties that I recognized, she is the chief of staff to the Minister of Justice of the Kurdish Regional Government (the minister was the chief justice in the Saddam Trial, I do not mention her or his name so that this blog does not come up on searches about them. They are both extremely kind, gracious, and knowledgeable individuals who are striving to build Kurdistan). As it happens, I had just had a meeting with the Justice Minister two days previously and had talked at length with his chief of staff, so I signaled her out of the crowd as someone who spoke excellent English and would be able to share with me her insight into the evening’s events.
I opened the discussion by asking her what she thought of the concert. She responded that ‘People were very happy and it went very well.’ I told her I had the opposite impression. She then said, ‘It was a great night for Kurdistan that Nancy Ajram, a cultural icon of the whole Middle East, visited Irbil and people were very happy and do not know how to behave in such situations.’ Taking us into decidedly undiplomatic territory, I probed ‘Is it really a great night for Kurdistan? If I were Kurdish I would be embarrassed at how many of my countrymen behaved, especially the wealthy young men in fancy western clothing.’ She said, ‘no not at all, People merely behaved normally and enjoyed themselves, they were relaxed and felt they were in their home. And could behave as they wanted to. That is good.’ I wondered outloud if everyone got to enjoy themselves or if in fact some people enjoyed causing chaos and inconveniencing everyone else. Her husband jumped in saying ‘It was a great night for Kurdistan, it is a shame that they had such a cheap security firm, they must not have been Kurds or they could have controlled the crowd better. I used to live in London, I know this stuff happens all the time there when big stars like Michael Jackson play and they don’t have the best security. One hears of such incidents at concerts in Europe all the time.’
Later while walking out we met the maitre d’hotel who I had complained to about not getting served our food. As a non-diplomat, he was slightly more open with me. He explained that they expected 600 people, planned for 1000 and that 1400 showed. He said it was a very sad day for him as he failed to serve everyone food and that the concert was a failure. He wished it had never happened. I commiserated with him, assuring him it wasn’t his fault and that I understand how hard it can be to manage such an event. I told him there will be other opportunities to get both the food and the crowd control right. However, I doubt if I was Miss Ajram I would want to make a return visit anytime soon.
The website Al-Bawaba.com describes the incident slightly differently, stating:
Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram broke in hysterical tears during her recent concert in Irbil Iraq, after the audience forced themselves on stage and surrounded her from all sides. The singer became very scared during the concert, which did not go according to plans.What was considered to be very unusual during the incident is the fact that the security men assigned to protect Nancy from being attacked by fans also turned into fans and became preoccupied with trying to take pictures with her neglecting their assigned duties. This neglect of the security men led the audience to go on stage knowing they would not be stopped. At this point, Nancy’s business manager Jiji Lamara, the organizer of the event and the band played the role of the security men and tried to protect the singer from being hurt and toppled by fans. Nancy became terrified and began crying hysterically and as a result of the crowds of people pushing towards her was injured in her foot. It took Nancy over 15 minutes to get to her private car and flee the scene. Once she was able to escape, Nancy packed her bags and immediately left to go back home.
Libya in Transition: Implications and Opportunities for Britain
An Africa All Party Parliamentary Group event in the House of Commons co-hosted by the Royal Africa Society and Libya-Analysis.com and consisting of two Closed Briefing Sessions for MPs and one Open Session for MPs and the public.
The Complete Program (PDF)
Libya’s New Role in the World
Monday December 12th, 7-9pm
House of Commons, Committee Room 15
The audio of the session begins at around 37:00 minutes of the file. My 12 minute speech begins at 1:10:00, I get attacked for concieving the militias as a threat to stability in Libya by a Libyan/British woman who I know from St. Antony’s at 1:24:50, I respond to my attacker at 1:38:15, get my viewpoint supported by the most knowledgeable Libyan in the room at 1:45:25, comment on capitalism and the Old Guard in Libya at 1:54:10, and give my closing remarks about job creation at 2:15:25.
Closed Briefing Sessions for MPs
The State of the ‘Transition’ and Britain’s Role
Tuesday, November 29th, 11am–12:30pm
The House of Commons, Meeting Room M
Business Opportunities for British Companies
Wednesday December 7th, 10am-11:30am
The House of Commons, Meeting Room M
Read the substantive points raised in these sessions as submitted to HMG’s Foreign Affairs Select committee as written evidence.
Libya Must Bring Militias into the Fold
LIBYA MUST BRING MILITIAS INTO THE FOLD: My humourous article in the Australian about the Zintani militias.
WITH the capture of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on Sunday near the southwestern Libyan town of Awbari by militiamen loyal to the Zintan Military Council, and his transport northwards, Zintan has achieved international stardom. The neighbouring towns of Rajban and Yafran have every right to be jealous. They too could have been catapulted on to the world stage, aided by their easy to-pronounce Berber names.
The appointment of a new interim NTC cabinet this week is the right opportunity to jump-start the detente between the militias and the central authorities. The next step will be folding all of the militias into a new national army and police force. Giving them fancy unit names such as the Revolutionary Platoon of Jadu, the Misratah Martyrs Brigade, the Zintani Scourge of Saif, and the Zwaran Zombie Strike Force might help.
Capturing the Qaddafis
Capturing the Qaddafis: The new Libya has a chance to wipe the slate clean — or descend into regional bickering. My argument in FP about how both Abdullah Senussi and Saif, in their own ways, promoted the crony westernization which brought down the Gaddafi regime.
Saif was known for his seemingly genuine admiration of Western constitutionalism and technological progress. Senussi understood that Libya couldn’t survive isolated from the West, but also grasped that introducing Western technology and the discourse of human rights would complicate his continued efforts to repress the Libyan people.
Both men were profoundly aware of the challenges the 21st century presented to the continued rule of the Qaddafi clan and urged a controlled opening to the West to save the “family business” — an effort that eventually backfired. Most outside observers assume that Senussi, as a security thug from the desert, was a reactionary figure who fought against Saif’s progressive détente with the West after 2003 and his economic privatization inside Libya. I came to meet Senussi while working in Libya in 2008 and discovered, to my great surprise, that, although he bordered on being illiterate — even in Arabic – he grasped the urgency of attracting foreign direct investment as much as any of the so-called Libyan reformers with doctoral degrees.
Review of Baldinetti’s The Origins of the Libyan Nation
New Insights into Libyan History: A Review of Anna Baldinetti, The Origins of the Libyan Nation: Colonial Legacy, Exile and the Emergence of a New Nation-State (Oxford: Routledge, 2010).
By Jason Pack in Middle East Report, 261, Winter 2011
Post-Gaddafi Libya Should Think Local
My Op-ed in the Guardian, Post-Gaddafi Libya should think local.
After a revolution that started at the periphery, Libya must empower local networks while avoiding factionalism.
Amid many questions about the future of post-Gaddafi Libya, one fact cannot be ignored: the Libyan revolution of 2011 is dissimilar – in scope, content, and origin – to its sister revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Indeed, it has almost no parallels in world history.
Generally, sweeping revolutionary change (France in 1789, Russia in 1917, etc) is carried out by an organised group at the centre of power with a distinct ideology. In Libya, the revolution originated in the periphery and is surprisingly devoid of ideology.
ooking forward, the NTC has frequently acknowledged the existence of a ground-swell of “localist” opinion that it would have to successfully appease to unite post-Gaddafi Libya. Mahmoud Jibril promised to step down after the liberation to appease this sentiment.
Libya Must Repay its Backers with a ‘Peace Dividend’
My Christian Science Monitor Article with Sami Zaptia. With Qaddafi dead, Libya must repay its backers with a ‘peace dividend,’ not favors: Now that Qaddafi is dead and Sirte is captured, Libyans can repay those countries who helped in his ouster not through kickbacks or development contracts, but by establishing a stable, democratic, economically open future for Libya. That’s the real ‘peace dividend.’
North Africans are famous for their culture of boundless hospitality. Yet as a result of their traumatic history with European colonialism, they understand that in international politics, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
Now that Libya is officially “liberated” and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has returned from a well-timed visit to Tripoli, officials of the State Department will no doubt attend briefings about how to reap the strategic dividends of America’s intervention. They must resist the temptation to publically, or even privately, ask the Libyans for payback in the form of preferential contracts. Surely no amount of oil, construction, infrastructure, or defense contracts can be better than a strong, moderate, and stable Libya that learns to select its business partners based on their merits rather than their nationality.
We believe the alliance powers should not ask the NTC to prostitute Libya’s vast treasure. Doing so would only cheapen the tremendous value of what the NATO alliance has done for Libya. The only true way the Libyans can repay the rest of the world for liberating them from Qaddafi is not through kickbacks, but by making the tough choices required to lay the foundation of a democratic, meritocratic, and economically open future.
My op-ed in Foreign Policy, Qaddafi’s Legacy: Only in his death is the Libyan leader’s radical vision of a decentralized republic becoming a reality.
In the end, for all Qaddafi’s pretensions of ideological revolution and professed commitment to ruling on behalf of a people who loved him, his regime had become an old-fashioned family dictatorship, with key security posts doled out to his sons and trusted loyalists. Now that he’s dead, Libyans have been given a double-edged sword: a chance to create a new political order from scratch.
The great irony of the 2011 Libyan revolution is that this spontaneous formation of local committees, drawing on traditional bonds of solidarity, is what Qaddafi preached in his Green Book but never implemented. His quote “Committees Everywhere” can still be seen on billboards across the country. However, the Brother Leader never envisioned that a true people’s democracy would have come about not as a result of his hypocritical exhortations but rather in determined opposition to them. Time will tell if the Libyans can keep it.
How Libya’s Archives Survived the War
Libya’s Challenge: Not Re-building, but Rather Creating a Nation a special feature for British TV4 exploring Libya’s repository of archival documents and how Gaddafi used and abused Libyan history to buttress his regime.
Some of Libya’s most precious archives survived the violent overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. But can they now help Libya’s new leaders forge a national identity, asks expert Jason Pack.
When I arrived in early September I was pleased to see that the only visual change to the centre’s exterior was the boarding-up of its windows. Miraculously, the 17 million documents concerning Libya’s 20th century history have all survived both the war and Gaddafi’s attempts to use and abuse history to buttress his claim to power.
What they may find hidden beneath the surface is that the different regions of Libya were never fully patched together. Therefore, what the National Transitional Council is now engaged in isn’t the rebuilding of Libya but actually the building of it from scratch.
Winning The Peace in Libya Collectively
Co-Authored with Shashank Joshi, Libya: Winning the Peace Collective for Chatham House’s The World Today.
It is neither too early nor too flagrantly self-congratulatory for NATO to declare victory in the military phase of its recent foray into North Africa. Nevertheless, just as the international community was crucial to the rebels’ success in overthrowing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, so too will it be vital to the stabilisation efforts that are now underway, and in the ensuing process of transition to legitimate governance capped by the nation-wide elections slated for 2012.
More broadly, Tripoli’s capture by disparate militias, all loyal to the anti-Gaddafi cause but lacking joint command
and control structures, presents what may be the greatest opportunity of the Arab Spring – however fraught it may also be with the possibility for anarchy.
Crossing Into Libya
Crossing Into Libya – Jason Pack Survives Border Bureaucracy And Sustainable Development Consultants
I figured getting to Tripoli for another quick research trip would be significantly easier than the time I went to visit the Iraqi archives in late 2003. This time around, I thought it would be very unlikely that I would encounter what the Iraqis used to call an ‘Ali Baba border guard’. One such petty bureaucrat playfully attempted to enforce the HIV test that had been mandatory for foreign visitors under Saddam, thereby compelling me to cough up a hundred bucks to prevent him from sticking a dirty syringe in my vein. I had also heard that the Libyan road network from the Tunisian border to the capital was entirely secure, unlike the Amman-Bagdad route in 2003 which passed through the ‘Sunni Triangle’ near Fallujah where frequent IEDs necessitated lengthy detours onto local roads. On both accounts I was flat out wrong.
As soon as I was off the propeller plane at the Djerba airport, I spotted two hipsters at the baggage carousel positively oozing a metrosexual vibe. They turned out to be Arabic-speaking Georgetown grads, who over the course of the next 36 hours would alternatively style themselves as sustainable development consultants, green entrepreneurs, and experts in import-export. In their more candid and giddy moments they made such statements as “Libya feels like the Wild West. I am sure it is where I will make my first million.” Or even more revealing of the condescending and predatory nature of many ambitious Westerners in the development field, “When I was in Benghazi in April, it struck me that the people were in such dire need of skills and capacity building, you could rake in the cash simply by setting up a falafel restaurant if you could import decent ingredients and bring quality control to its operations. Imagine what you could do in the fields of desalinisation or genetically-engineered seeds modelled on Israeli agronomy methodology but produced in Jordan!” Although I did not share their motivations for coming to Libya, I knew that sticking with them would keep me safe and cut my costs in getting to Tripoli.
First Revolution, Now Democracy
WSJ article with Sami Zaptia First Revolution, Now Democracy: The world is watching Libya’s transition.
From a technical and constitutional perspective, the NTC is correct to postpone the selection of a government until complete liberation is declared. But there is no mistaking the fact that the perpetual delay reflects ongoing squabbles among local factions for cabinet positions. Further delays, and continued lack of transparency in decision making, will cost the NTC the public’s trust.
The world is watching Libya’s story unfold with great interest. The NTC must again surprise the Libyan people and the world by voluntarily handing over power to local interests according to a genuine, decentralized democratic process.
Economist Letter to the Editor on Tribes
I wrote to the Economist to correct a few factual mistakes in their article and argue that the pro-Qadhafi tribes [mostly Magarha and Qadhadhifa] will be severely disadvantaged in the new Libya.
It would be incorrect to assume that just because the NTC’s chairman, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, has nobly called for no revenge killings, as well as amnesty for former regime supporters without blood on their hands and future equal hiring practices, that such policies will be fully implemented.
As Tikrit and its tribesmen no doubt suffer in today’s post-Saddam Iraq, Sebha and Sirte as well as the Megarha and Gadadfa will be severely disadvantaged in the post-Qaddafi Libya. It is undesirable but unpreventable.
Pack BBC Piece on Libya in the 1940s
BBC World Service interview about the British Military Administration of Libya (1942-51) and lessons for today
The Seif Paradox
The Seif Paradox: Was Gadhafi’s second son a modernizer or monster? The answer is: both.
After triumphantly and haphazardly bursting into Tripoli on Sunday evening, Libyan rebel fighters claimed to have captured Moammar Gadhafi’s second-eldest and most internationally famous son, Seif al-Islam. The initial reports announcing his capture were hastily confirmed by International Criminal Court President Luis Moreno-Ocampo, but have since been proven false. Seif appeared to journalists Monday night outside the Bab al-Aziziyya compound curiously and defiantly proclaiming that Tripoli is under Gadhafi’s control and that the rebels will be routed.
Seif’s latest media stunt only further enhances his mystique. Usually known for sipping champagne in an exquisitely tailored Italian suit after speaking about …
The Liberation of Tripoli
Guest Analyst on Al-Jazeera’s “The Stream” discussing the liberation of Tripoli and Libya’s uncertain future. We also comment on the role of Oil in Western decision making vis-a-vis Libya.
Review of Vandewalle’s Libya since 1969
Review of Libya Since 1969: Qadhafi’s Revolution Revisited, edited by Dirk Vandewalle (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
By Jason Pack and Dana Moss in The Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, June 2011
Jason on Riz Khan with Dirk Vandewalle
For my first live TV appearance, I was a Featured Guest on Al-Jazeera English’s Riz Khan Show alongside Dirk Vandewalle. We discussed the African Union’s peace plan and a I gave a cogent defense of the importance of a distinction between the rebel’s political leadership and the revolutionary fighters. This appears prescient as it is precisely this distinction which became the central dynamic in post-Qadhafian Libyan politics.
The Two Faces of Libya’s Rebels
From Foreign Policy, Pack’s — The Two Faces of Libya’s Rebels: The anti-Qaddafi forces are a strange mix of ragtag fighters and defector technocrats. And more than guns, the latter desperately need Western moral support.
If you let strangers know that you research Libya for a living, there seems to be only one question on their minds: “Who are the Libyan rebels?” I’ve been asked it at cocktail parties, on ski lifts, at academic seminars, and even by Western journalists in Benghazi who have developed the flattering habit of Skype-ing me at odd hours. Americans seem captivated by this question, perhaps because they have heard senior U.S. officials from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to various Republican congressmen proclaim that they do not yet know enough about who the rebels are. I do not take such statements at face value. U.S. statesmen know quite well who the rebels are — but pretend otherwise to obscure the fact that the United States has yet to formulate a comprehensive policy toward them.
The rebels consist of two distinct groups: the fighters and the political leadership.
The Case for Intervention on Strategic Grounds
My first in Foreign Policy – Libya Is Too Big to Fail: International intervention is the right move — and not just for humanitarian reasons.
Despite what you may be hearing from critics of March 17′s U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a no-fly zone and “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from harm, Libya is not peripheral to the world system. It is at its very core. Libya possesses 1,800 kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. The country produces 2 percent of the world’s oil, with 85 percent of exports going to Europe. Libyan nationals have been prominent jihadists in Iraq. Since the beginning of the Great Recession and the slump in global demand in 2008, Libya has allocated $200 billion toward new infrastructure spending.
And yet Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, curiously described U.S. interests in Libya as “less than vital” in aWall Street Journal op-ed last week. He cautioned that even the modest step of participating in a multilateral no-fly zone would be incommensurate with America’s limited strategic interests. Harvard University professor Stephen Walt made a similar point. “For starters,” Walt argued, “let’s acknowledge that the United States has no vital strategic interests at stake in the outcome of the Libyan struggle.”
In 2008, I changed my career as an academic of Syria to become instead a professional engaged in the American and European efforts to bring Qaddafi in from the cold and forward the agenda of pro-market economic reform and Western investment in Libya. My logic then was the same as it is now: Libya is too important in the world system to have Western strategic priorities in Libya unfulfilled and U.S. businesses shut out. This logic is grounded in history and is also best for the aspirations of the Libyan people. Over the last six decades, successive U.S. and British administrations have consistently concluded that the “Libya question” merited great economic and diplomatic sacrifices. It still does.
Abdullah Sanussi and Qaddafi’s Inner Circle
An exposé of Abdullah Senussi commissioned by The Guardian on and based on my personal experiences with him and his son.
Gaddafi’s right-hand man should not be underestimated: Abdullah Senussi, shrewd, paranoid and honed by years of practising repression, is more than just a thug in a suit.
As the Gaddafi regime continues to fight on in Libya, we must ask ourselves what kind of men constitute Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle of confidants and trusted allies. Are they thugs fighting to preserve their control over the spigots that pour black gold? Or do they believe that their cause is just and that the Gaddafi regime has genuinely inaugurated the era of the rule of the masses?
How are we to judge Abdullah Senussi? It never entered into his shrewd and paranoid mind that a leaderless mob inspired by revolutions in neighbouring countries, armed with Twitter and videos taken on their mobile phones could threaten the Gaddafi regime. When faced with this unforeseen scenario, Abdullah Senussi and those around him naturally fell back on what they knew best: killing their opponents.
- Book Launch poster (17 May 2013)
- The 2011 Libyan Uprisings and the Struggle for the Post-Qadhafi Future (13 May 2013)
- Ministries Back to Work after Sieges End (13 May 2013)
- Britain Should Take the Lead in Libya (8 May 2013)
- Political Isolation Law Passed and Militias and Populists Still Boycott (7 May 2013)
- Blockades Polarizing Libya; Militiamen Now Hit Electricity Ministry (3 May 2013)
- Libyan Stability at Risk (2 May 2013)
- Demonstration in Support of Political Isolation Law (2 May 2013)
- Libya Gunmen Surround Tripoli Foreign Ministry (29 Apr 2013)
- French Embassy in Libya Attacked (23 Apr 2013)
- The Constituent Assembly Will Be Elected (12 Apr 2013)
- GNC Stalemate on Process for Selecting “Committee of 60″ (6 Apr 2013)
- John McCain in Libya (6 Apr 2013)
- Opinion: Libya – Technological Colony – To Be or Not to Be? (3 Apr 2013)
- Hisham Matar on NPR’s Fresh Air (3 Apr 2013)
- Advisor to Libya PM ‘Abducted’ (2 Apr 2013)
- A Thawing of Libyan Politics? (21 Mar 2013)
- Libya: Two Years Later (20 Mar 2013)
- Deborah Jones Nominated as New U.S. Ambassador to Libya (14 Mar 2013)
- Libyan PM Ali Zeidan Visits the U.S. (14 Mar 2013)
- Security Guards Injured Trying to Evict Congress Occupiers (3 Mar 2013)
- Review of Gerges’s Obama and the Middle East: The End of America’s Moment (26 Feb 2013)
- Rebels with a Pen: Observations on the Newly Emerging Media Landscape in Libya (26 Feb 2013)
- U.S.-Libya Cooperation Update (21 Feb 2013)
- The 15th February 2013 Counter Revolution that Never Was (17 Feb 2013)
- Libya Needs International Assistance, Not Drone Attacks (15 Feb 2013)
- The Importance of Stabilizing Libya (15 Feb 2013)
- Saudi Arabia to Invest in Libya? (7 Feb 2013)
- Libya’s Constitutional Committee to Be Elected (6 Feb 2013)
- Libya’s Spheres of Bad Influence (1 Feb 2013)
- Engagement in Libya Was and Remains the Right Answer (31 Jan 2013)
- Alternate Introduction to Engagement in Libya was the Right Answer (31 Jan 2013)
- Review of Michael Willis’s Power and Politics in the Maghreb (30 Jan 2013)
- What You Need to Know About Hillary Clinton’s Testimony (24 Jan 2013)
- Libya’s Fractious New Politics (17 Jan 2013)
- The 2011 Libyan Uprisings and the Struggle for the Post-Qadhafi Future (15 Jan 2013)
- Transforming Libya’s Ungoverned Spaces through Development (13 Jan 2013)
- GNC Sets Up Own Military Force (11 Jan 2013)
- Rooting Out Extremists in Libya (10 Jan 2013)
- The Country Formerly Known as GSPLAJ (8 Jan 2013)
- Details Emerge of Attack on Magarief in Sebha (7 Jan 2013)
- Another Missed Opportunity on Benghazi (4 Jan 2013)
- Ali Aujali Will Not be Foreign Minister (2 Jan 2013)
- Obama Vows to Fix Flaws Discovered in Benghazi Inquiry (1 Jan 2013)
- State Department Accountability Review on Benghazi (19 Dec 2012)
- Congressmen Move to Dismiss Mangoush as Army Chief of Staff (11 Dec 2012)
- Oil Update, Or Wait? (9 Dec 2012)
- U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis’ Hands (7 Dec 2012)
- Libya’s Tubu (3 Dec 2012)
- Ali Aujali Confirmed As Foreign Minister (27 Nov 2012)
- GNC Starts Constitution Debate (18 Nov 2012)
- Rising from the Ruins (17 Nov 2012)
- US-backed force in Libya face challenges: (17 Nov 2012)
- Sewehli refuses to endorse new government (15 Nov 2012)
- Finally an elected Libyan cabinet, but is it fearsome enough to govern? (7 Nov 2012)
- Libyan “Analysis” of US Election [Joke] (7 Nov 2012)
- New Libyan Cabinet Approved (31 Oct 2012)
- GNC Stormed AGAIN After Zidan Cabinet Announcement (30 Oct 2012)
- 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance: Governance in Libya (in Gaddafi Era) ‘Imbalanced’ (26 Oct 2012)
- Jason Pack on Al-Jazeera’s 23/10/12 Inside Story (23 Oct 2012)
- Year After Gaddafi Death Libya Confronts Successes and Failures (20 Oct 2012)
- U.S. to Help Create an Elite Libyan Force to Combat Islamic Extremists (17 Oct 2012)
- Ali Zidan Elected as Libya’s New Prime Minister (16 Oct 2012)
- Bloomberg Editors Agree: Invasion of the Drones Is Wrong Policy for U.S. in Libya (11 Oct 2012)
- Democracy is Messy – Especially in Libya (9 Oct 2012)
- Libya Awaits Announcement of New Government (7 Oct 2012)
- Congress Rejects New Libya Government (6 Oct 2012)
- U.S. Said to Be Preparing Potential Targets Tied to Libya Attack (2 Oct 2012)
- The Libya Surprise (2 Oct 2012)
- National Congress Leader Magarief Says Libya Should Be a “Secular State” (2 Oct 2012)
- 11 Killed As Libyans Depose Benghazi Militias (23 Sep 2012)
- Popular Protests: Not the first time (23 Sep 2012)
- Benghazi Anti-Militia Protest (22 Sep 2012)
- Amid Chants of ‘Free Libya, Terrorists Out,’ a Nation at a Crossroads (17 Sep 2012)
- Honoring Chris Stevens (14 Sep 2012)
- U.S. Ambassador to Libya Is Killed (12 Sep 2012)
- Libya’s Constitution Controversy (5 Sep 2012)
- GNC Decides on New Measures Concerning Selection of PM (3 Sep 2012)
- Congress Votes to Exclude its Members from Standing for PM (3 Sep 2012)
- Libya’s Largest Refinery Restarts after War Closure (3 Sep 2012)
- The Bomb Attacks in Libya: Are Gaddafi Loyalists Behind Them? (25 Aug 2012)
- Massive Damage to Major Sufi Shrine Follows Fatal Zliten Clashes (24 Aug 2012)
- Were the attacks in Tripoli actually conducted by Qadhafi loyalists? (20 Aug 2012)
- Libyan General Discusses Military Priorities (17 Aug 2012)
- What Lies Ahead for Libya: An interview with the Prime Minister (9 Aug 2012)
- Libya’s Next Step: A Panel on Voice of Russia Radio (8 Aug 2012)
- The Problem with Removing Dictators (7 Aug 2012)
- Federalists Launch Political Party (2 Aug 2012)
- Another Tell-All from Qaddafi’s Inner Circle (22 Jul 2012)
- Preliminary Election Results are In (18 Jul 2012)
- Libya’s Militia Menace (15 Jul 2012)
- Libyan Police Cadets Start a Riot (14 Jul 2012)
- Article Length German-language Interview of Jason Pack concerning the Libyan Elections (11 Jul 2012)
- Libya’s Islamists Count on Independents to Get A Majority (11 Jul 2012)
- Liberal Coalition Claim Early Lead in Libya Vote Count (9 Jul 2012)
- Libya Election: High Hopes, Turnout, and Expectations (7 Jul 2012)
- Libya’s Election: Uncertainty before and after (6 Jul 2012)
- NTC Tries to Change the Rules of the Game at the Last Minute (5 Jul 2012)
- Elections to Mark New Start for Libya Economy (4 Jul 2012)
- Voting Begins Overseas Ahead of July 7 Election (3 Jul 2012)
- Melinda Taylor Finally Freed (2 Jul 2012)
- Democracy a Learning Process as Libya Set to Vote (28 Jun 2012)
- ICC Captive Is Pawn in Struggle between Militias and the NTC (26 Jun 2012)
- ICC Expresses “Regret” over Staff Held in Libya (23 Jun 2012)
- LISCO Restarts Steel Production in Misrata (22 Jun 2012)
- Libya Dashes Hopes of Early Release for Melinda Taylor (21 Jun 2012)
- Coastal Road Blocked by Cyrenaica Federalists (20 Jun 2012)
- Uncertainties Underlie the Celebrations in Cairo (19 Jun 2012)
- Libya Wants ICC Hamstrung Via Aussie’s Capture (17 Jun 2012)
- Yemen as a Model for Syria’s Transition (14 Jun 2012)
- Libya’s Missteps Threaten Descent into Federalism (14 Jun 2012)
- Stand-off in Northern Mali (14 Jun 2012)
- Such a Quiet Libyan Stock Exchange (14 Jun 2012)
- Bernard-Henri Levy and the West’s Intervention in Libya: A Discussion with Experts (11 Jun 2012)
- Libya Splits into Disparate Militia Zones (10 Jun 2012)
- Libya Takes Baby Steps Toward Democracy (8 Jun 2012)
- Armed Salafist Protest in Benghazi (7 Jun 2012)
- Bomb Targets U.S. Mission in Libya’s Benghazi (6 Jun 2012)
- Uncertainty Abounds Around Elections and Federalism (6 Jun 2012)
- Elections To Be Delayed (3 Jun 2012)
- Libya: Open for Business? (1 Jun 2012)
- Libya Oil Output Almost Back to Prewar Level (29 May 2012)
- Libyan Rebels Head to Cannes Film Fest (25 May 2012)
- Megrahi’s Death—An End to a Century of Mistrust? (23 May 2012)
- Review of Del Boca’s Mohamed Fekini and the Fight to Free (15 May 2012)
- Libya: NTC Must Assert Itself And Consign Federalism To The Dustbin Of History (24 Apr 2012)
- Federalism in Libya: Tried and Failed (20 Apr 2012)
- Libya Violence Puts Poll Timing at Risk (10 Apr 2012)
- Jason on Press TV’s Double Standards (31 Mar 2012)
- Economists Interpretation of Van Creveld and Pack’s Thoughts on Iran (26 Mar 2012)
- Solve Syria, Leave Iran Alone (20 Mar 2012)
- Preliminary Details of Book (18 Mar 2012)
- Hands On Syria, Hands Off Iran (14 Mar 2012)
- Libya: NTC Must Exercise Authority And Tackle Militias (26 Feb 2012)
- Summary of my Monograph Translated into Arabic (23 Feb 2012)
- In War’s Wake: The Struggle for Post-Qadhafi Libya (23 Feb 2012)
- U.S. Needs A Grand Strategy in Its Relationship with China (7 Feb 2012)
- Qatar: Kingmakers in Syria? (18 Jan 2012)
- NYT Article: In the Arab Spring, Watch Turkey (5 Jan 2012)
- Kurds Look to Old Enemies for Survival (27 Dec 2011)
- Beauty Meets the Beast—Nancy Ajram Encounters Kurdistan (22 Dec 2011)
- Libya in Transition: Implications and Opportunities for Britain (12 Dec 2011)
- Evidence Submitted to Foreign Affairs Select Committee (7 Dec 2011)
- Libya Must Bring Militias into the Fold (23 Nov 2011)
- The Zintan Rebels Strike Back (22 Nov 2011)
- Capturing the Qaddafis (21 Nov 2011)
- Review of Baldinetti’s The Origins of the Libyan Nation (20 Nov 2011)
- Post-Gaddafi Libya Should Think Local (23 Oct 2011)
- Libya After Gaddafi: Experts Fear Chaos, See Opportunity (23 Oct 2011)
- Young Qaddafi and King Idris (22 Oct 2011)
- RIP Qaddafi (21 Oct 2011)
- Libya Must Repay its Backers with a ‘Peace Dividend’ (20 Oct 2011)
- Qaddafi’s Legacy (20 Oct 2011)
- Saddam and Qaddafi (20 Oct 2011)
- How Libya’s Archives Survived the War (4 Oct 2011)
- Winning The Peace in Libya Collectively (1 Oct 2011)
- Crossing Into Libya (30 Sep 2011)
- First Revolution, Now Democracy (30 Sep 2011)
- Bullets in the Air (20 Sep 2011)
- Birth of a Modern Islamist Ideology? (19 Sep 2011)
- Tunisia (16 Sep 2011)
- Economist Letter to the Editor on Tribes (8 Sep 2011)
- Pack BBC Piece on Libya in the 1940s (1 Sep 2011)
- The Seif Paradox (24 Aug 2011)
- The Liberation of Tripoli (23 Aug 2011)
- Review of Vandewalle’s Libya since 1969 (15 Jun 2011)
- Jason on Riz Khan with Dirk Vandewalle (19 Apr 2011)
- The Two Faces of Libya’s Rebels (5 Apr 2011)
- The Case for Intervention on Strategic Grounds (17 Mar 2011)
- Abdullah Sanussi and Qaddafi’s Inner Circle (23 Feb 2011)