Three weeks into Venezuela’s political standoff, will there be a negotiated settlement involving a power-sharing arrangement and amnesty for members of the Nicolás Maduro regime? Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself interim president on Jan. 23, has backed a bill in the National Assembly that would grant amnesty to the military if it repudiates Maduro and helps return Venezuela to democracy.
The proposed amnesty has sparked controversy among victims of the Maduro regime. Legal experts, meanwhile, have concerns that this move could be in violation of international law and the country’s constitution. And there’s another factor: Maduro and his military have been implicated in human rights abuses that may amount to crimes against humanity.… Seguir leyendo »
May’s municipal elections in Tunisia had many commentators speculating about the future of the country’s ongoing democratic transition. The results were roughly in line with expectations, with the “Islamist” Ennahda taking 27.5 percent of the vote, the “secular” Nidaa Tounes taking 22.5 percent and independent candidates taking 28 percent. At the same time, voter turnout, at 35.5 percent of registered voters, was disappointingly low.
Nonetheless, most observers agree the prospects for democratic transition in Tunisia are much better than they are for Egypt or Libya. Indeed, some have come to see the contrasting trajectories among post-Arab uprising countries such as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt as inevitable.… Seguir leyendo »
After six years of procedural and legal maneuvers, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is free. The top Egyptian appeals court acquitted him of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 popular revolt. Mubarak’s expected freedom comes as many leaders of that revolt languish in Egyptian prisons. The other members of Mubarak’s regime put on trial in 2011 have also been set free. How did we get to this place?
In the weeks and months following the toppling of the former Egyptian strongman in 2011, calls for justice on Cairo’s Tahrir Square turned into unified demands for prosecutions of Mubarak and other officials responsible for human rights abuses and economic crimes.… Seguir leyendo »
The militias fighting under the banner of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq have played a controversial role in the ongoing battle to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State. The PMF is widely seen inside Iraq and abroad as a sectarian Shiite force. On social media and in popular discourse (largely from a Sunni perspective), the PMF is pejoratively referred to as “Safavids” or simply “Iranians.” PMF groups have been implicated in human rights abuses against Sunnis during liberation operations in cities such as Tikrit and Fallujah.
Yet the PMF has tried hard to portray itself as Iraqi nationalist. The call to arms that established the PMF is framed in nationalist terms, and there are groups in the PMF — such as the Abbas Combat Divisions — that have a genuinely nationalist and state-centered outlook and have been integrated into the Ministry of Defense.… Seguir leyendo »
Four years ago this month, the world came together to stop Moammar Kadafi as his security forces massacred peaceful demonstrators during the Arab Spring. The U.N. Security Council sanctioned Libya and referred the violence to the International Criminal Court. Within weeks, the security council, with the blessing of the Arab League, authorized any means necessary to protect Libyan civilians, and NATO and its Arab allies began an air war to stop Kadafi’s advance on the city of Benghazi.
One senior U.S. official had warned that if Kadafi took Benghazi, the ensuing massacre would be «Srebrenica on steroids,» an ominous reference to the U.N.’s failure to stop the 1995 massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys in eastern Bosnia by Serb forces.… Seguir leyendo »
President Obama has lamented not doing more to follow up on the 2011 intervention in Libya.
As the U.S. builds its military campaign against Islamic State, extending airstrikes into Syria, it is not too late for Washington and its allies to heed the lessons from Libya. Even in a post-Islamic State and post-Bashar Assad world, Syria would still have to manage the many other militias battling for control. Not all militias are extremist; nonetheless, their very existence will severely complicate the effort to build any new institutional order.
Just ask the Libyans, whose country is now teetering on the brink of disintegration.… Seguir leyendo »