September 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 August 2011
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Expected Council Action
Much of the Council’s attention in September will likely be centered on Libya as it is expected to be establishing parameters for a post-conflict UN involvement in Libya. This would most likely require adopting a resolution.

The Council may also begin discussions on a resolution lifting the sanctions imposed under resolutions 1970 and 1973. (Portuguese Ambassador José Cabral, chair of the Libya Sanctions Committee, is currently scheduled to brief the Council on the 10 August interim report of the Panel of Experts. However, the likely changes to the sanctions regime could affect this briefing.)

Key Recent Developments
At press time, the rebels had claimed control of significant parts of Tripoli. However, intense fighting continued to be reported throughout the capital and elsewhere in Libya and Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s whereabouts remained unknown.

The Contact Group on Libya was due to meet in Paris on 1 September.

On 30 August, Council members were expecting a briefing from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, and the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for post-conflict planning in Libya, Ian Martin, were also expected to attend the regular monthly consultations on the same day to update the Council on recent developments. Namely, meetings held between the UN Special Envoy, Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib, Martin and the Transitional National Council (TNC) in Doha on 23 August and the Contact Group meeting held in Istanbul on 25 August, were expected to be part of the discussions.  

Following the rebels’ entry into Tripoli, Ban met on 22 August with the president and P5 members of the Council to discuss the rapidly unfolding developments in Libya and signaling the possible post-conflict roles for the UN. Pascoe told Council members that Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Chairman of the TNC, had informed Ban of the important role the UN would have to play in post-conflict Libya during his briefing on 23 August. Jalil also stressed the importance of unfreezing Libyan assets once the new government came to power. Furthermore, Pascoe said that Khatib and Martin were in Doha to discuss a potential UN role in post-conflict Libya.

On 24 August, the Contact Group met at the request of the TNC in Doha. The TNC was seeking the urgent release of funds to support its political apparatus as well as to provide humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people. The next day, on 25 August, the Contact Group met at the level of political directors in Istanbul. Representatives from 28 countries as well as the UN, the EU, NATO, the LAS, the OIC, the GCC and the AU agreed to interact with the TNC as the legitimate governing authority in Libya. The participants agreed the UN should take the lead role in post-conflict Libya but stressed this process should be led by the Libyan people.

On 26 August, the Secretary-General held a video conference with the heads of the AU, the EU, the OIC and the LAS urging them to assist the TNC with a smooth political transition. The TNC attended its first LAS meeting on 27 August but suffered a setback when the Peace and Security Council of the AU insisted on only recognising an “all-inclusive transitional government” at its 26 August meeting. (The AU High-Level Ad-Hoc Committee had met with a delegation of the TNC on 9 August to discuss the proposals endorsed by the July Malabo AU Summit.)

Jalil dismissed his cabinet on 8 August following the murder of TNC’s military chief Abdel Fatah Younes on 28 July. (Younes had defected from Qaddafi’s regime in February.) 

Developments in the Libya Sanctions Committee
In August, the Libya Sanctions Committee (the 1970 Committee) considered the issue of the use of frozen assets to meet humanitarian needs (during his briefing to the Council on 28 July, Pascoe said that both Tripoli and Benghazi had requested this). On 8 August the Committee received a request from the US seeking the release to the TNC of US$1.5 billion for humanitarian needs. South Africa put a hold on the decision (sanctions committees operate by consensus) as it was concerned that unfreezing the funds would be interpreted as recognition of the TNC. It also wanted to wait for the AU Peace and Security Council Heads of State and Government-level meeting on 26 August before making a decision.

Due to a lack of consensus within the Committee regarding its request, on 24 August the US circulated a draft resolution that would be subject to a Council vote (and therefore not be affected by South Africa’s objection). Following consultations an agreement was reached to refer to “relevant authorities” rather than the TNC and a decision to allow for release of the funds was reached at committee level on 25 August.

Previously, subsequent to Pascoe’s July briefing (S/PV.6595), the Committee seemed to have determined that paragraph 19b of resolution 1970 permits member states to release Libyan assets for exclusive use by humanitarian agencies to deliver aid to all Libyans. On 17 August, the World Health Organisation received €100 million from frozen Libyan assets held by the Dutch government for medical supplies to be used in Libya. 

Key Issues

  • Its role in ensuring the territorial integrity of Libya and preventing any ensuing large-scale civil war is the key issue for the Council.
  • Responding to the changing situation and determining a UN role in post-conflict Libya is another critical issue.
  • Minimising the humanitarian impact of the conflict on the Libyan population and the delivery of humanitarian assistance is a related issue for the Council.
  • A further related issue is the need for the coordination of efforts of various stakeholders and other international bodies in a post-Qaddafi Libya.
  • A longer-term set of issues for the Council will include subsequent UN support in the areas of security and the rule of law, economic recovery, constitution-making and the electoral process, human rights and transitional justice as well as addressing justice and impunity issues in a post-conflict Libya. 

A likely option is the adoption of a resolution covering the details of the UN role in a post-conflict Libya. This could include a monitoring role, an interim stabilisation force and possibly a future integrated (political/peacekeeping) mission.

A further option is adopting a resolution modifying the sanctions.

Also an option could be to involve all Council members in greater capacity, in post-conflict planning, perhaps via the Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping.

Council Dynamics
Following the rebels’ entry into Tripoli, most Council members felt it premature to react to developments before the final outcome had become apparent. However, some Council members expected a call for a meeting to discuss Qaddafi’s fate.

Council members seem to have a near uniform understanding that political transition in Libya is inevitable and a new government under the auspices of the TNC is the way forward. They also appear to be agreed upon the need for a smooth political changeover in Libya but are waiting for the situation to settle before making any decisions.

Some Council members continue to remain wary of the NATO air campaign authorised by resolution 1973 considering it to have gone beyond its protection mandate.

Additionally, some Council members fear that Qaddafi’s exit from power may lead to ensuing violence and renewed civil war. Some members have also expressed concern over the murder of Younes as an indication of the significant challenges that lie ahead in a post-Qaddafi Libya.

Council members that had previously recognised the TNC include France, Germany, Lebanon, the UK and the US. Most recently, China, Russia and South Africa have also started engaging with Benghazi. They have also been attending Contact Group meetings as observers along with elected Council members Brazil, India and Portugal.

A view started emerging within the Council that the September Contact Group meeting in Paris would be used to garner worldwide recognition of the TNC as Libya’s legitimate governing authority.

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 Letter

  • S/2011/455 (22 July 2011) was the AU High-Level Ad-Hoc Committee’s framework for a political solution in Libya endorsed by the AU at the Malabo Summit.


  • S/2011/535 (24 August 2011) was the draft resolution circulated by the US on 24 August as a response to South Africa’s objection to the unfreezing of US$1.5 billion for the use of TNC.

Other Relevant Facts

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal)

Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts

  • Youseif 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)

UN Special Adviser for Post-Conflict Planning

Ian Martin (UK)

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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