October 8, 2013
Mary Casey, Joshua Haber
Libya has summoned U.S. Ambassador Deborah Jones for questioning over the raid and capture of suspected al Qaeda leader Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai in Tripoli Saturday. Ruqai, also known as Anas al-Libi, has been indicted in New York for his suspected role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people and he is on the FBI’s most wanted list. The United States is holding Ruqai and questioning him on a Navy Ship in the Mediterranean Sea. Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said he wanted “a number of explanationsconcerning the case.” According to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Jones has been “in regular contact with the Libyan government.” Meanwhile, Ruqai’s son, Abdullah al-Ruqai, spoke of his family history and described his father’s capture. Additionally, several Libyan militant groups, angry over the seizure of Ruqai, have hinted at retaliation.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recommended Monday that a team tasked to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal be made up of 100 specialists from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). In a 10-page report sent to the U.N. Security Council, Ban said he would set up a joint mission with the OPCW to oversee thecataloguing and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. He said the mission would be based in Damascus, but would include a staging ground about 300 miles west of the Syrian capital in Cyprus. He stated the mission would require “an operation the likes of which, quite simply, have never been tried before.” Meanwhile, the United States and Russia announced they have agreed on a plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical arms. After a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Indonesia, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters, “We have a common understanding of what needs to be done and how. I am very glad that President Obama is occupying this position [on chemical arms].” On Tuesday, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu briefed the group’s 41-country executive council at The Hague on the mission’s progress in Syria.
Arguments and Analysis
‘Egypt’s revolutionaries: what do they stand for?‘ (H.A. Hellyer, Al-Arabiya)
“It seems that members of the revolutionary camp are waiting for some sort of political opening, after which they will be able to play a role. Almost subconsciously they seem to realise that as long as this political conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military is ongoing, there will be little room for the revolutionaries to achieve anything concrete. They won’t ally with either of those factions, but they have also not developed a strategy to ensure that if and when the public arena does eventually open up that they will be in the best position to encourage positive change.
Almost three years ago, a square in downtown Cairo gave birth to a movement that at its core had respect, pluralism, and human dignity. Throughout this transition, no one has been able to translate that movement into something that could be bought into by the Egyptian people. The movement needs to decide for itself, sooner rather than later, what its role ought to be, rather than allow itself to be overtaken by circumstance and events. This moment in Egypt’s history demands they find more effective methods to translate principles and ethics into action because Egypt deserves better than Maspero on the 9th of October 2011 and better than Giza on the 6th of October 2013; Egypt deserves Tahrir Square of January 25th 2011. If Egypt can’t have this, then it should have the best that activists can achieve.”
‘Crying “Wolf”: Why Turkish Fears Need Not Block Kurdish Reform‘ (International Crisis Group)
“Negotiations underway since late 2012 between Turkey’s government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are stalling. A ceasefire announced on 23 March 2013 remains precarious, as maximalist rhetoric gains renewed traction on both sides. While the PKK should be doing more to persuade Ankara that it wants a compromise peace, the government has a critical responsibility to fully address the longstanding democratic grievances of Turkey’s Kurds. One reason it frequently gives for its hesitation is fear of a nationalist backlash. In fact, the peace process has already demonstrated how willing mainstream Turks would be to accept steps towards democratisation. A much bigger risk for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as it heads into a two-year cycle of local, presidential and parliamentary elections, would be if the three-decade-old conflict plunges into a new cycle of violence.
While the nationalist political opposition, including the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Action Party (MHP), has largely been against negotiations with the PKK and Kurdish reforms, the public has mostly accepted them. The AKP government’s steady stream of political gestures toward Kurds — including Kurdish-language television, legalisation of private Kurdish language courses, elective classes in schools and, most recently, plans to introduce education in Kurdish in private schools — has roused little noticeable public anger. Government-appointed delegations that fanned out across the country reported back that explanation and dialogue often changed public perceptions and readiness for compromise. Nationwide anti-government protests that broke out in May even unexpectedly triggered displays of solidarity toward Kurds from Turks in the west of the country, who had largely been dismissive about Kurdish grievances.”
–Mary Casey & Joshua Haber
Source: Foreign Policy
Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images