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Showing posts from April 24, 2014

Libya in Chaos: Between Tribalism and Federalism

The ‘Jamahiriya’, the odd republic that former Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi created in accordance to a ‘model’ he conceived and expressed in his seminal “Green Book” - based on his Third Universal Theory, functioning as a kind of Constitution for Libya - was at best described as a confused mishmash of Chinese socialism with Islamic coloring. It was by all means a mess, but it worked in the sense that it kept Libya united, thanks to the authority and fear mongering exercised by its creator. Now, over three years after Qadhafi’s demise, Libya has plunged back into chaos. Not a week goes by without news that an ambassador, (the latest being the Jordanian one), or a foreign security official (the latest being one guarding the US embassy) has been kidnapped.

Last March, in the wake of a no-confidence vote, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan resigned for "the good of the nation" and to ensure that Libyans “no longer fight each other.” The resignation came in the wake of an embarrassin…

Turkey’s Erdogan: Not out of the Woods Yet

Following the March 30 local elections, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had turned into an informal referendum on his own polarizing policies, Turkey is facing uncertainty both at home and abroad. Erdogan’s moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the elections decisively, gathering some 45 percent of the vote and besting its result in the previous local elections in 2009 (its main rival, the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, came second with some 28 percent). But the next big election is already in sight - on August 10 Turks will vote in the first direct presidential vote in the country - and Turkish society is deeply divided. There is also trouble brewing with the economy and with Western allies who are uncomfortable with Erdogan’s continued crackdown on the separation of powers and on civil liberties in the country.

One of the biggest uncertainties ahead is whether Erdogan, who is prohibited from running for a fourth term as a prime minister by internal p…