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Libya

From Raqqa to Derna: Exceptionalism in Expansionism

[Image courtesy of Al-Wasat]

In early November, militants affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria took full control of the Libyan city of Derna, festooning government buildings with the familiar flag bearing the shahada and celebrating their victory over their opponents within the city. A coastal settlement of around 100,000, less than two hundred miles from the eastern city of Benghazi and hours from Tobruk, where the internationally-recognized House of Representative rules from, the loss of Derna aroused fears within the West of further Islamist and ISIS domination over restive and ungoverned Libya. As news outlets and Libyan watchers across the ideological divide pointed out, a ...

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Civil Society Call for the Protection of Libya's Democratic Transition

[Image from the

[The following statement was issued by members of Libya's civil society.]  Libya’s transition since 2011 has been a difficult path to follow; riddled with instability and violence. Libyans and the international community alike did not anticipate much of what has come to pass, rendering the country in constant flux and continual deterioration putting democracy, freedom, human rights at stake.  Nearly four years since the uprising, Libya’s trajectory may still be rectified. If not motivated by the potential that Libya and Libyans have to produce peaceful conditions in which they can exist and prosper, then let us be motivated by the need to put an end to the ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (5 August)

[Crop of image of United States President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they walk across the tarmac at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 20 March 2013. Image by Pete Souza.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] Gaza Hamas' Chances, Nathan Thrall Hamas's ongoing combat is indicative of a strategic decision making process, not maniacal hatred of Israel, writes Thrall in London Review of Books. Israel's Use of Law and Warnings in Gaza, Janina Dill Israeli military arguments that it provides warnings to Gazan citizens of ...

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Human Rights Roadmap for a New Libya

[Logo of Human Rights Watch. Image from hrw.org]

[The following report was published by Human Rights Watch on 3 February 2014] Human Rights Roadmap for a New Libya Introduction After four decades of authoritarian rule, Libya faces the challenge of reforming outdated and repressive legislation and writing new laws that guarantee the full panoply of citizens’ rights. The enduring legacy of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule includes laws that have curtailed the freedoms of generations of Libyans. Since the 2011 revolution in Libya, with some exceptions such as repealing a Gaddafi-era law criminalizing the establishment of political parties, the transitional authorities have added to the problem by issuing some new laws that limit ...

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Libya’s Revolution 'Will Not Stop Until We Have Freedom'

[Image of Jamal al-Hajji, who was convicted of defamation on 31 December 2013. Image courtesy of Amnesty International via Index on Censorship.]

After forty-two years of political oppression in Libya, it was hoped that the apparatus of Gaddafi’s regime would be dismantled after he was swept from power. Vestiges of the despot’s suffocating grip on free speech still remain, and are still being used to suppress political expression. Jamal al-Hajji, a writer and commentator from Tripoli, faces jail and a large fine after comments he made in a television interview in February 2013 sparked a defamation case by government figures. During an interview on al-Wataniya, a Libyan television channel, al-Hajji accused the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Abulaziz and five other politicians and public figures of ...

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Les villes petites et moyennes dans les revoltes arabes: un etat des lieux

[Image is cover of below issue]

Les villes petites et moyennes dans les révoltes arabes: un état des lieux. Compte rendu de: Karine Benafla (dir.), Dossier « Villes arabes: conflits et protestations », Confluences Méditerranée, 85 (2013), 9-164. Une des dimensions singulières des révoltes arabes est leur territorialité, qui a d'emblée constitué une clé de leur interprétation. Or, cette territorialité est plurielle et se décline en plusieurs moments. Aux révoltes des petites et moyennes villes tunisiennes (Sidi Bouzid, Kasserine), libyennes (Misrata et Benghazi) ou syriennes (Deraa, Homs), et des villes industrielles secondes comme Mahalla al-Koubra ou Suez en Egypte, se sont d’abord ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (October 14)

[Prime Minister Ali Zeidan shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week.]  Algeria Algeria: Crackdown on Independent Trade Unions Human Rights Watch condemns Algerian authorities’ efforts to limit the formation and operation of independent trade unions. Algerian Bashing dans le conflit Syrien. Baki 7our Mansour addresses social media’s “Algeria bashing.” Les compagnies pétrolières se détournent de ...

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Is Algeria an Anti-Imperialist State?

[Principle leaders of the FLN (left to right: Mohamed Khider, Mostefa Lacheraf, Hocine Aït Ahmed, Mohamed Boudiaf, and Ahmed Ben Bella). Taken after their 22 October 1956 arrest by the French Army following the interception of their (Moroccan civilian) flight between Rabat and Tunis headed for Cairo. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

In the last two years, several articles and analyses have attempted to decrypt Algeria’s ambiguous position toward Western imperialist interventions in Libya and Mali. In contrast to its assertive and resolute diplomacy of the 1960s and 1970s, the Algerian regime confused more than one observer, as it was not easy to tell whether it supported or opposed these recent wars. On the one hand, reductionist views failed to analyze the situation objectively and resorted to the easy explanation: that Algeria is being pragmatic and that the seeming contradictions in its decisions and actions are only a reflection of its realist approach. On the other hand, those who adhere to a ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (25 September)

[A view inside the Zaatari camp, northern Jordan. Image by UK Department for Intenational Development.]

 [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] News  Iran-US Dialogue Iran: Nasrin Sotoudeh Among Freed Political Prisoners, BBC News Iran has reportedly freed eleven political prisoners ahead of a visit by President Hassan Rouhani to the UN General Assembly in the United States. Not Realistic to Talk Syria Without Iran: Turkish President, Hürriyet ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ayca Cubukcu, The Responsibility to Protect: Libya and the Problem of Transnational Solidarity

[Cover of the

Ayça Çubukçu, “The Responsibility to Protect: Libya and the Problem of Transnational Solidarity,” Humanitarianism and Responsibility, special issue of Journal of Human Rights 12 (2013). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Ayça Çubukçu (AÇ): This article originated in a piece I wrote for Jadaliyya during the vitalizing days of the Arab Spring, in the heat of debate about the virtues of an international military intervention in Libya. As Jadaliyya readers would recall, following the February 2011 uprising against Colonel Qaddafi in eastern Libya, there were calls for the international community to intervene, if necessary with violence, into Libyan affairs. A ...

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Jadaliyya's Occupation, Intervention, and Law Page Resonates

[Smoke rises after an Israel air strike in Gaza Strip December 28, 2008. Image by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi.]

Since launching in July 2010, the Occupation, Intervention, and Law (O.I.L) page has made rich contributions to the field of studies examining the Middle East, armed conflict, law, and human rights. O.I.L has sought to explore the relationship between, and the debates within, the fields of armed conflict, politics, and international law. These debates include developments in international law; the implications of intervention; the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of resistance; the political economy of conflict; war profiteering; and the humanitarian dimension of war and peace, associated movements, and related forces. In less than three years, we have published 497 ...

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Libya: Which Fate for Gaddafi’s Henchmen?

[Image of graffiti depicting a blood-spattered Gaddafi. Image by Lord Jim/Flickr.]

On 24 March 2013, about 200 former rebel fighters in Libya besieged the prime minister's office, demanding that he resign in accordance with a political isolation law banning members of the former regime from political life. Ali Zeidan, the current prime minister of Libya, served as a diplomat under Gaddafi. The draft political isolation law being debated applies to anybody who held an official position during the final two decades of Gaddafi’s rule, which includes many who have played a prominent post-revolutionary role in Libya. However, there are calls for this draft law to be expanded to include anybody who held an official post over the entire period of Gaddafi’s ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (November 21)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week] Algeria L’instance de coordination de la CNLTD appelle à l’organisation d’une élection présidentielle anticipée One of Algeria’s main opposition movements met ...

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New Texts Out Now: Andrea Khalil, Crowds and Politics in North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya

Andrea Khalil, Crowds and Politics in North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. London: Routledge, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?             Andrea Khalil (AK): In the fall of 2010, I was researching a book on the 5 October 1988 riots in Algeria. I was in France and Algeria from July-December 2010 looking for documents, archives, photos, testimonies, and literature about the riots. The events in Tunisia in the middle of ...

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Quick Thoughts: Ali Ahmida on the Situation in Libya

[The recent upsurge in fighting in Libya has been the most intense since the overthrow of Mu‘ammar Qaddafi in 2011. In addition to pitting various militias against each other, General Khalifa Haftar has proclaimed his intention to seize the reins of power throughout the country. Jadaliyya asked Libya specialist Ali Ahmida to shed light on recent developments]: Jadaliyya (J): Who is General Khalifa Haftar? Ali Ahmida (AA): General Haftar has a controversial history. He is originally from the eastern ...

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The Ottoman Scramble for Africa

During the nineteenth century, the place of the Ottoman Empire in the European state system became the subject of continual debate among the major players on the world political stage. Ottoman statesmen were acutely aware of the empire’s relatively weak position vis-à-vis its neighbors and sought to manage this situation while simultaneously expanding the role of state institutions in the provinces. We often see the Ottomans forced to accept unfavorable economic and political arrangements while playing ...

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ليبيا: دولة الميليشيات

  لم تكد تمضي ثلاثة أيام على سقوط طرابلس في أيدي «الثوار» يوم 20 آب العام 2011، حتى وقع أول الاشتباكات بين المجموعات المسلحة التي أبصرت النور خلال الأشهر الثمانية التي سبقت انهيار نظام معمّر القذافي. يومها، هوّن المتفائلون بتحقيق الديموقراطية في ليبيا من وطأة تلك الاشتباكات، فاعتبرها البعض ظاهرة موقتة يمكن السيطرة عليها فور انتقال ليبيا من دولة قائمة على «حكم الفرد» إلى دولة قائمة على «حكم القانون». لكن الطريقة البشعة التي قتل بها العقيد القذافي في 20 تشرين الأول العام 2011، والتي شاهدها ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (October 20)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week.]  Algeria La double occultation des événements du 17 octobre 1961. Ait Benali Boubekeur remembers the massacre of FLN supporters in France during the period of ...

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Snatch and Render from Libya

In 2004, the British government brokered the transfer of militants of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) from their “undisclosed locations” in the War on Terror to the Qaddafi regime. “This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over the years,” wrote Sir Mark Allen, head of Britain’s MI6 to Qaddafi’s aide Moussa Koussa on 18 March 2004. The specific matter here was the “safe arrival of Abu Abdallah Sadiq,” the nom de plume of Abdul ...

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Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Eighteenth Report

[The following report was issued by Bokra Youth Organization and H2O Team on 28 September 2013. This is the eighteenth in a year-long series of reports covering the actions of Libya's General National Council. This issue focuses on the period from 15 September to 30 September 2013. Click here to access the previous report.] Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Eighteenth Report Introduction: The General National Conference (GNC) held five sessions in which the GNC ...

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Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Ninth Report

[The following report was issued by Bokra Youth Organization and H2O Team on 26 May 2013. This is the ninth in a year-long series of reports covering the actions of Libya's General National Council. This issue focuses on the period from 15 April to 1 May 2013. Click here to access the previous report.] Eye on the LIbyan General National Congress: Ninth Report Introduction Libya's General National Congress held four routine sessions during this period. The highlights of these meetings included ...

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Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Eighth Report

[The following report was issued by Bokra Youth Organization and H2O Team on 20 May 2013. This is the eighth in a year-long series of reports covering the actions of Libya's General National Council. This issue focuses on the period from 1 April to 15 April 2013. Click here to access the previous report.] Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Eighth Report Introduction The General National Congress held four sessions in this period, during which members of the Congress discussed three ...

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Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Seventh Report

[The following report was issued by Bokra Youth Organization and H2O Team on 8 May 2013. This is the seventh in a year-long series of reports covering the actions of Libya's General National Council. This issue focuses on the period from 15 March to 1 April 2013. Click here to access the previous report.] Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Seventh Report Introduction The General National Congress held five meetings in this period beginning Sunday March 17, after a weeklong suspension ...

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Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Sixth Report

[The following report was issued by Bokra Youth Organization and H2O Team on 22 April 2013. This is the sixth in a year-long series of reports covering the actions of Libya's General National Council. This issue focuses on the period from 1 March to 15 March 2013. Click here to access the previous report.] Eye on the Libyan General National Congress: Sixth Report Introduction  The General National Congress held two sessions in this period and primarily discussed the political isolation law ...

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