Jason Pack

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In today’s world, internationally recognized governments do not always control their countries. Libya, which is embroiled in a multipolar civil war, is one tragic example.

Rival administrations — one in Tobruk, one in Tripoli — claim to be legitimate nationwide rulers even though neither actually governs the splinters of territory it claims to control. The real power lies with militia commanders and local councils.

All efforts to broker peace have failed. The Tobruk-based administration — having grown spoiled by a surfeit of international support — walked away from United Nations-sponsored negotiations last week, flatly rejecting the latest attempt at a power-sharing plan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since the Arab Spring began four years ago whole swathes of the Middle East have been transformed from authoritarian police states into ungoverned, and ungovernable, spaces. In Iraq and Syria, the vacuum left by the receding state has been filled by various Islamist movements. Yet even in these countries, the national governments still retain sovereignty and control over their capital cities.

Not so in Libya, where rogue militias conquered Tripoli in August and set up rival political institutions, forcing the internationally recognized House of Representatives to relocate to the eastern town of Tobruk. Since then, Libya boasts two administrations both claiming to be sovereign.…  Seguir leyendo »

The "Liberty for Independence" statue, placed outside the Scottish parliament building in Edinburgh, is seen on Wednesday. (Lesley Martin / AFP/Getty Images)

The gravest immediate threat to the West's long-term security does not emanate from Vladimir Putin or from the militants of the Islamic State. Rather, surprisingly, it comes from peace-loving Scots.

With polls now showing a majority of Scots supporting independence in the referendum set for Sept. 18, it's suddenly clear that Scotland might actually break away from Britain. In the words of Lord West of Spithead, former First Sea Lord, "A 'yes' vote for Scottish independence would make it more difficult to defend Britain. It would diminish NATO and the West's ability to do things."

Bluntly put, there is no rational upside for a 'yes' vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

By annexing Crimea after a sham referendum, Vladimir V. Putin has inadvertently done the European Union a huge favor. His opportunism has glaringly exposed the union’s lack of coherent institutions, borders and policies.

To successfully respond to Mr. Putin’s thuggery, the euro-zone countries must transform themselves into a Democratic Union of Europe. Their first task will be demarcation of a crystal-clear border with Russia, followed by the creation of a democratic superstructure that allows for the phased unification of the separate European states’ pre-existing defense, foreign policy and governance institutions.

Anything less will simply invite Mr. Putin to continue gnawing away at Europe’s exposed eastern flank, while individual states quibble over their narrow interests.…  Seguir leyendo »

Libyans were due to celebrate today -- not Christmas Eve, of course, but the anniversary of their independence from British and French military rule in 1951.

Tragically, the official festivities had to be canceled, after Libya suffered its first suicide bomb attack on Sunday: 13 soldiers were killed at an army checkpoint 30 miles from the main eastern city of Benghazi.

This change in jihadist tactics will no doubt be seen by some as yet further confirmation that Libya is too chaotic to be helped. Yet the opposite is true: It is a signal that the world can no longer afford to stand aside as this oil-rich nation of 6 million people appears to slide into chaos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Three years ago Tuesday, the Arab Spring began when 26-year-old vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in suicidal protest against the political repression and limited economic opportunity offered in dictator Zine el Abidine ben Ali's Tunisia. This literal spark ignited dramatic political change across the Middle East.

Today, Tunisia's stalled transition remains the last, best prospect for a democratic blossoming from the Arab Spring. Hope lives on because Tunisia has learned from the other derailed democratic experiments in the region, notably in Iraq, Egypt and Libya.

In May 2003, shortly after U.S.-led coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime, L.…  Seguir leyendo »

During the last decade many right-wing American and Israeli analysts have described the geostrategic struggles unfolding in the Middle East as a new “Cold War” pitting the United States against Shiite Iran. They have warned of an Arab “Shiite Crescent” — stretching from Lebanon to Iraq — connected to Iran via ties of religion, commerce and geostrategy.

The new year has started with an attempted Shiite power play by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to dominate the Iraqi government, and an Iranian demonstration of missile and nuclear fuel-rod capacity coupled with threats to close the Straits of Hormuz if Iranian oil exports are blocked.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los norteafricanos son famosos por su cultura de la hospitalidad ilimitada. Sin embargo, como consecuencia de su traumática historia con el colonialismo europeo, entienden que en la política internacional "no existe una comida gratis".

Mientras la toma de Sirte y la información de la muerte, ayer, del coronel Gadafi están provocando unas masivas celebraciones callejeras, los libios están discutiendo constantemente cómo se produjo su victoria sobre el dictador. Muchos de ellos creen que solo Dios es el responsable en última instancia de su liberación. Aunque están inmensamente agradecidos a la intervención de la alianza dirigida por la OTAN, algunos libios cuestionan los motivos humanitarios que aduce la organización.…  Seguir leyendo »