October 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2011
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Expected Council Action
The Council’s attention is expected to continue to be focused on Libya in October as the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) deploys. The Council also expects a briefing from the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe.

If the National Transitional Council (NTC) should gain full control of Libyan territory the Council may want to revisit the no-fly zone authorised under resolution 2009.


Key Recent Developments
At press time, intense fighting was being reported between the NTC and forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Qaddafi in Sirte and Bani Walid. Qaddafi’s whereabouts remained unknown and the NTC had yet to establish an interim government.

On 30 August, the Secretary-General briefed the Council saying that the UN’s potential role in post-conflict Libya had been discussed with the NTC. The Council then met in consultations with the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Post-Conflict Planning, Ian Martin (who was appointed as Special Representative and head of UNSMIL on 16 September). 

In a 7 September letter to the Council, the Secretary-General proposed the establishment of an integrated support mission to be set up for an initial period of three months. The mission’s mandate was envisaged to include:

  • restoring security and order and promoting the rule of law; 
  • promoting reconciliation and embarking upon constitution-making and electoral processes;
  • strengthening emerging accountable institutions and restoring public services;
  • protecting human rights and supporting transitional justice;
  • initiating economic recovery; and
  • coordinating multilateral and bilateral support.

On 9 September, Council members met in consultations and were briefed by Martin— who had just returned from a five-day visit to Libya meeting senior NTC representatives, including Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil—on the nature of support being sought by the NTC.

A 14 September letter from the NTC to the Council formally requested the assistance of the UN and laid out its priorities for assistance. The NTC also requested that regular commercial flights be allowed to resume whilst maintaining the no-fly zone applicable to military aircraft to protect civilians.

On 16 September, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2009, in which it:

  • provided the mandate for UNSMIL for a three-month period;
  • created exemptions to the UN arms embargo;
  • modified the asset freeze, particularly in the oil and banking sectors; and
  • eased restrictions on commercial aircraft while keeping in place the no-fly zone and protection-of-civilians provision (as per resolution 1973).

On 22 September, Martin said that UNSMIL was already supporting the NTC in the areas of elections, public security and transitional justice.

On 26 September, Pascoe briefed the Council and highlighted four key concerns: reconciliation; arms control; transitional justice; and the welfare of migrants. He said that all senior UNSMIL staff was now in Libya. Pascoe also updated the Council on the humanitarian country team that was working with the Libyan authorities to enhance support in conflict areas by providing food, water and medical kits while assessing further needs. This UN inter-agency team had arrived in Tripoli on 1 September.

A number of other notable events regarding Libya took place in New York on the margins of and in the General Assembly.

On 16 September, the Assembly approved by a significant margin the credentials of the delegation representing the NTC. The NTC has been recognised as the legitimate governing authority by over 80 countries, including by China on 12 September.  The Arab League, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have admitted the NTC as the Libyan representative.

On 20 September a high-level meeting on Libya convened in New York. The NTC, UN member states and representatives of regional and international organisations participated in the meeting. Participants reaffirmed that the UN and the Council should lead the international community’s efforts in supporting the Libyan-led transition. It was also agreed that, in the future, “Friends of Libya” meetings should be co-chaired by the Libyan interim government and either the Secretary-General or Martin, periodically in Tripoli. Martin attended this high-level meeting after three days of discussions in Tripoli.

The Secretary-General held talks with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on 21 September to discuss the nature of cooperation within the framework of their engagement in Libya. NATO’s mandate was also extended by 90 days.

On 24 September, the Executive Chairman of the NTC, Mahmoud Jibril, addressed the General Assembly. Jibril acknowledged that the NTC was not yet in full control of the Libyan territory. He urged the Council to lift its asset freeze of Libyan funds as soon as possible.

On 26 September, Jibril addressed the Council in a briefing saying that due to the ongoing fighting, NATO’s role in the protection of civilians continued to be valid. He requested the Council to adopt a resolution that would unfreeze Libyan assets for Libya’s use. The Council then met in private consultations.

Other key events concerning Libya included the “Friends of Libya” conference, jointly hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron on 1 September. The conference, held in Paris, was attended by the US, China and Russia as well as 60 other nations and international bodies. (South Africa did not attend as it had in the recent past).

On 8 September, the ICC prosecutor requested that INTERPOL issue a red notice to arrest Qaddafi, his son Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, and the head of Libya’s intelligence services, Abdullah Al-Sanousi, for alleged crimes against humanity. (An INTERPOL red notice seeks the provisional arrest of a wanted person with a view to extradition or surrender to an international court.)


Human Rights-Related Developments
On 29 September, the United Nations Human Rights Council asked the General Assembly to lift the suspension placed upon Libya. (Its decision to suspend Libya in March 2011 marked the first time when one of its members was suspended.)


Developments in the Libya Sanctions Committee
On 26 September, Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal), Chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, briefed the Council on the changes to the sanctions regime under resolution 2009.

Resolution 2009 has introduced a new working method to this Sanctions Committee with the use of a “negative decision”. In effect, a single Council member cannot affect the unfreezing of assets or the approval of exemptions to the arms embargo. This means all Council members must collectively object to the lifting of a given measure for it to be rejected. (Whereas, other sanctions committees work by consensus, i.e. all 15 members have to agree.)

The Committee will continue to meet in October and will likely be considering the NTC’s call to unfreeze Libyan assets. It appears that the NTC has been tasked with meeting certain technical criteria that would prevent misappropriation of funds.



Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is its role in ensuring the territorial integrity of Libya and preventing any large-scale civil war.

If the NTC manages to gain full control of Libya, the Council will likely need to determine the scope of NATO’s role in protecting civilians.

Its role in minimising the impact of the conflict and its aftermath on the civilian population and the delivery of humanitarian assistance are two closely related issues for the Council.

Another issue is the need for the continued coordination of efforts of various stakeholders and other international bodies in a post-Qaddafi Libya. 


The Council’s options include:

  • receiving regular briefings on UNSMIL and closely monitoring the situation in Libya;
  • amending the current resolutions or adopting new resolutions as and when the situation dictates, i.e. including the modification of no-fly-zone; and
  • revisiting the sanctions imposed on Libya.

Although not envisaged at present, based on the lessons learnt from the now extinct 661 Committee, there seems to be ample room for improving the transparency and accountability requirements for the use of unfrozen funds under resolution 2009.


Council Dynamics
Most Council members felt that it was important to adopt the resolution authorising UNSMIL as quickly as possible. However, disagreement remains over the scope of NATO’s involvement. African members, in particular, remain concerned that the Council is not calling for a cessation of hostilities more explicitly (as underscored in South Africa’s address to the General Assembly). Other Council members feel that there remains a significant threat to the civilian population as the NTC has yet to gain full control of the Libyan territory; therefore, NATO’s role in this regard continues to be crucial.

When negotiating the draft of resolution 2009 some members felt that the inclusion of priorities for the new mission should include precise and explicit language referencing women, peace and security, including women’s participation in any post-conflict political process; protection of civilians; and specifically, children. However, other members indicated a preference to incorporate these elements when discussing a more long-term UN presence after the anticipated expiry of UNSMIL in three months’ time.  


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UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2009 (16 September 2011) authorised the deployment of UNSMIL and partially lifted sanctions.
  • 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 Records

  • S/PV.6622 (26 September 2011) was the latest briefing on Libya.
  • S/PV.6620 (16 September 2011) was the Council meeting where resolution 2009 was adopted.
  • S/PV.6606 (30 August 2011) briefing held on the situation in Libya.

Security Council Letters

  • S/2011/588 (19 September 2011) and S/2011/587 (19 September 2011) was an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Council noting the appointment of Ian Martin as the head of UNSMIL.
  • S/2011/578 (15 September 2011) was from the Secretary-General to the Council President forwarding the NTC’s request for the UN’s assistance in Libya.
  • S/2011/542 (7 September 2011) was the Secretary-General’s letter to the Council President proposing the establishment of UNSMIL.

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)

Head of UNSMIL

Ian Martin (UK)

Commander for NATO Operations under Resolution 1973

Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard (Canada)

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