Turkish general and presidential elections will take place on June 24. Originally scheduled for November 2019, they were called a year and a half earlier than expected. It is the first vote after the 2017 constitutional referendum, which paved the way for the transformation of the Turkish system into a presidential republic, and the first consultation under the new electoral law.
For several years now, there has been a volcano of national aspirations waiting to breakdown the putrefying system of global governance and erupt out of control. The quest for peace through the creation of the United Nations (UN) is well past its use-by date. Religious violence has replaced nationalistic wars, the battlefield has shifted to shopping malls, streets and borders from strategic assets, citizens have substituted soldiers in death counts, economic violence has superseded physical violence.
The campaign carried out by the government of eastern Libya and by military forces associated with it (the Libyan National Army or LNA) since 2014 has been mainly finalized towards capturing Benghazi and Derna from the local municipalities. By July 2017 Benghazi was captured, or, to quote eastern Libyan pundits, "liberated" (although, contrary to the LNA reports, the situation in the city is still far from stable), and the siege of Derna began.
On April 26, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's plane landed at Benina airport, which ended speculation about his very poor health or death after his hospitalization in Paris for two weeks. At 75, Marshal Haftar is considered the strongman of eastern Libya. He is at the head of the so-called Libyan National Army. This army is actually a group of militias rotating around a regular army nucleus representing a force of about 25,000 men. It is not a solid and coherent block. Each militia has its own agenda and its ambitions.
As negotiations between Libya’s primary political factions take place in Tunisia, leaders and international advisors are debating potential governing models for Libya. For now – amid deep disagreements about basic constitutional concerns – the process remains stalled.
Libya is walking a tight rope. Dozens of stakeholders jockey for power and opportunists spoil political progress, making for an uncertain trajectory in the conflict. The fourth United Nations Special Envoy Ghassan Salamè is dwindling in popularity but could make a lasting impact if any of his initiatives are realized.
Notwithstanding the rhetoric about collaboration, international players' national interests have often prevailed in the approach to Libya. Such interferences, determined by diverse and conflicting agendas, contributed to further dividing the country and have made it more difficult to undertake a true process of national reconciliation.
On May 29, French President Emmanuel Macron has hosted a UN sponsored conference on Libya in Paris, aimed at securing elections and commitments to a joint political roadmap from its warring factions. The conference has brought together key Libyan players and representatives of two dozen countries and international organizations. Libya’s rival leaders have adopted a statement calling for presidential and parliamentary elections in December. However, some relevant problems could persist.
Developments in 2017 have once again brought into focus the one-state reality taking hold on the ground in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) has remained dormant since the collapse of the last round of US-backed talks under President Obama in Spring 2014. In the meantime, Israel (with US acquiescence) has moved further away from Palestinian negotiating positions and the internationally endorsed final status parameters meant to frame a final agreement.