August 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 July 2011
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Expected Council Action
Council members are expecting the regular monthly briefing on Libya from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe in late August.

No Council decisions are currently expected in August. However, if progress is made on negotiating a political solution and a ceasefire between Benghazi and Tripoli it will likely require some Council action, including a possible decision to deploy military observers to monitor any ceasefire arrangement.

The next meeting of the Libya Contact Group is anticipated for September in New York.

Key Recent Developments
At press time, NATO air strikes against Libyan military capabilities under resolution 1973 were headed into their fifth month.

On 28 July Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pascoe briefed the Council on recent developments in Libya, including mediation efforts. South Africa spoke after Pascoe’s briefing.

On 26 July, British Foreign Minister William Hague said that the UK preferred that Qaddafi leave the country but “what happens to Qaddafi is ultimately a question for the Libyans.”

On 20 July, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé suggested Qaddafi could stay in Libya if he relinquished power. (On 12 July, Juppe had suggested that Qaddafi’s envoys were seeking to negotiate Qaddafi stepping down.)

On 19 July the US confirmed that it had held talks with representatives of Qaddafi to deliver the message that he must leave power. (Media reports indicate the meeting took place on 16 July in Tunisia.)

On 15 July the Libya Contact Group met in Istanbul and: 

  • reaffirmed that Qaddafi must leave power;
  • agreed all [Contact Group] participants would deal with the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate governing authority until an interim government is formed which could include some members of the Tripoli regime;
  • reaffirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya;
  • stressed the need for a genuine ceasefire, an immediate political transition and humanitarian access;
  • reaffirmed the leading role of the UN and Special Envoy Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib’s role in that regard and included language encouraging the AU’s mediation role;
  • adopted explicit language on the functioning of the Temporary Financial Mechanism to fund the NTC and welcomed the NTC’s commitment to honour Qaddafi-era contracts; and
  • indicated the post-conflict stage should be Libyan-led with the UN leading the support efforts of the international community.

On 11 July, Khatib briefed Council members in informal consultations after his 9 July visit to Tripoli. He suggested a key element of any political solution linked to a ceasefire could be an interim “institutional mechanism” comprised of representatives of both Benghazi and Tripoli. However, he said disagreements remained between Benghazi, which wanted talks only after Qaddafi left power, and Tripoli, which wanted talks only after a ceasefire. Khatib said he hoped indirect talks would evolve into direct talks. He also expressed concern about the humanitarian situation across Libya and about the intensity of the NATO campaign during Ramadan which starts on 1 August. 

On 5 July, media reports indicated that Russian mediators had said Qaddafi was willing to step down in exchange for security guarantees. Benghazi rejected internal exile for Qaddafi.

On 1 July the AU High-Level Ad-Hoc Committee on Libya presented Tripoli and Benghazi representatives with a proposal endorsed at the 17th AU Summit in Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on 30 June. The critical difference in this proposal from the previous AU plan is that it called for negotiations which would exclude Qaddafi. 

At the Malabo summit the AU decided its member states should not cooperate with the execution of the arrest warrants issued by the ICC on 27 June for Qaddafi, his son and his intelligence chief saying that the warrants complicate reaching a negotiated political solution to the Libyan crisis. The summit also requested the Security Council to defer the ICC process under article 16 of the Rome Statute. 

On 30 June, France informed the Secretary-General that it had “taken an additional measure in accordance with paragraph 4 of resolution 1973 (2011): airdrops of self-defence weapons for the civilian populations that have been victims of attacks by Libyan armed forces, in the absence of any other operational means of protecting these populations under threat.” Media reports indicate the weapons were dropped in the Nafusa Mountain area, southwest of Tripoli, and included ammunition, rifles, machine guns, anti-tank missiles, and RPGs.

Aspects of the UN post-conflict contingency planning undertaken by special adviser Ian Martin seem to have been shared with the Contact Group and Security Council members. Preliminary assessments in the following areas were set to conclude in late July: political process, security apparatus, rule of law and human rights, economic recovery, public administration and physical infrastructure.

Developments in the Libya Sanctions Committee
At press time, the Sanctions Committee said it had not received any notification of a ship docked in Algeria allegedly carrying arms bound for Tripoli. (The Committee would need to be notified by a member state before it could consider any implications vis-à-vis the arms embargo.)

The Sanctions Committee met on 7 July to discuss the issue of the French arms drop and on 18 July to hear a briefing from OCHA on the humanitarian situation in Libya and discuss other pending issues, in particular frozen assets.

The Panel of Experts is expected to submit its interim report on 10 August. It is not anticipated that the chair of the Sanctions Committee will brief the Council in August but may do so in September.

In June “holds” on applying sanctions to two individuals and one entity were lifted. However, most of the additional designations for the sanctions regime received by the Committee in April remain subject to various “holds”.

Key Issues
Ongoing key issues for the Council include: 

  • whether the Council can play a more active role in establishing parameters for political initiatives to secure an end-game in Libya;
  • the divergence among members regarding the interpretation of resolution 1973, especially relating to the arms embargo and the unfreezing of assets;
  • the humanitarian impact on the population under Qaddafi’s control and related access issues; and
  • the necessary framework for a ceasefire.

Potential issues for the Council in the future include: 

  • a UN role in any ceasefire-monitoring mechanism; and
  • a UN role in post-conflict Libya.

An option for the Council is to engage with the Secretary-General to better empower Khatib in his mediation efforts by giving him clearer parameters to negotiate with Tripoli and Benghazi, including on post-conflict scenarios—especially now that UN post-conflict contingency planning is well developed—to give both sides a higher level of comfort about a future Libya and their roles in it. 

A second option may be to involve Council members in more detail on post-conflict planning (perhaps via the Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping) and the potential deployment of military observers, assessment of Libya’s needs, any potential interim stabilisation force and whether any future UN Mission might require political, peacekeeping or an integrated approach. 

Immediate options for the Council could include:

  • a briefing from Khatib (who was in Benghazi on 25 July and in Tripoli on 26 July);
  • more regular Secretariat briefings; and
  • designating more individuals and entities under the sanctions regime by lifting holds on some of the outstanding recommendations.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Since the Contact Group meeting on 15 July, there now seems to be nearly uniform agreement among Council members that political transition in Libya is an essential part of the end game and a political process leading to this is the way forward. In general, the fact that Council members appear to be more agreed on the need for a political transition in Libya suggests that the outlook for productive and congenial Council activity around authorising any necessary ceasefire monitors and follow-on UN presence may be more positive. 

The more unified approach from the wider international community which has also emerged over the past weeks has contributed to this convergence in the Council. While leadership of mediation efforts in this regard has been previously contentious between the AU and UN, it now seems there is broad consensus around the central role of UN Special Envoy Khatib. (However, it is unclear if this progress on the diplomatic front will provide Khatib the requisite tools to negotiate more effectively.) 

Council members that have recognised the TNC include France, Germany, Lebanon, the UK and the US. China, Russia and South Africa are also openly engaging with Benghazi and attend Contact Group meetings as observers along with elected Council members Brazil, India and Portugal.

Some Council members are signalling that the TNC may need to be more flexible vis-à-vis conditions for potential talks with Tripoli.

A number of Council members remain wary so long as the NATO air campaign authorised by resolution 1973 maintains its current intensity and the TNC maintains its progress towards Tripoli.

There remains an awareness that the current situation in the Council is fragile. There continues to be a degree of tension in the Council about the seeming exclusion most elected members feel from oversight and input to the political process via the Council. Secondly, the public confirmation of the French arms drop also contributed to the ongoing tension. Most Council members are aware that there is an argument that the drop may be legal under resolution 1973 (and indeed the language was likely crafted envisioning such a possibility) but the publicity exacerbated the ongoing anxiety by some in the Council about the resolution being taken beyond its protection mandate.

There is also a growing concern that if the TNC were to take Tripoli (or other towns strongly supportive of Qaddafi, e.g. Sirte)—given recent reports of reprisals (albeit limited)—reprisal violence by Benghazi forces is possible.

The request of the AU for the Security Council to defer the ICC proceedings on Libya could raise the level of tension. (However, unlike the Kenyan case where the AU had tasked African members of the Security Council to bring the issue to the Council’s attention—no such specific obligation was imposed in the Libya case.)

There also seems to be ongoing tension in the Council over how best to achieve humanitarian access in Qaddafi-controlled areas.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1973 (17 March 2011) authorised all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya and enforce the arms embargo, imposed a no-fly zone, strengthened the sanctions regime and established a panel of experts.
  • S/RES/1970 (26 February 2011) referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions and established a sanctions committee.

Security Council Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6595 (28 July 2011) was the most recent monthly briefing on Libya by Pascoe.

Security Council Letters

  • S/2011/402 (30 June 2011) was from France regarding its airdrop of self-defence weapons under paragraph 4 of resolution 1973.
  • S/2011/377 (21 June 2011) appointed the eighth member to the Panel of Experts.

Other Relevant Facts

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal)

Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts

            · Yousef Fahed Ahmed Alserhan, Jordan (maritime)
            · Oumar Dièye Sidi, Niger (customs)
            · Simon Dilloway, UK (finance)
            · Theodore M. Murphy, US (humanitarian and regional)
            · Giovanna Perri, Italy (finance)
            · Salim Raad, Lebanon (heavy weapons)
            · Savannah de Tessières, France (small arms and light weapons)
            · Ahmed Zerhouni, Algeria (aviation)

UN Special Envoy

Abdel-Elah Mohamed Al-Khatib (Jordan)

Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry

Cherif Bassiouni, Chair (Egypt); Asma Khader (Jordanian/Palestinian); Philippe Kirsch (Canada)

AU High Level Ad-Hoc Committee

Heads of state of Congo, Mali, Mauritania (Chair), South Africa, Uganda and the chair of the AU Commission

International Contact Group

Australia; Bahrain; a rotating seat shared by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; Bulgaria; Canada; France; Germany; Greece; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Malta; Morocco; a Nordic seat shared by Denmark, Norway and Sweden; Poland; Qatar; Spain; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; UK; USA and representatives from the Arab League, EU, GCC, NATO, OIC and the UN. The AU, Brazil, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea, Sudan, Tunisia and Ukraine attend as observers

Commander for NATO Operations under Resolution 1973

Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard (Canada)

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