2017 is a crucial year for Iran. In January, while the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA) entered the second year of implementation, in Washington the Trump Administration took office, with the promise to “renegotiate a disastrous deal”. In May, in Tehran, the incumbent president Hassan Rouhani won re-election by a wide margin.
Since 2011 the Libyan crisis has moved from being a domestic dispute to assuming increasing importance at the international level. Today it represents a crucial issue affecting global security. The intervention of external actors in the Libyan crisis was mainly driven by a desire to direct the transition towards outcomes that would best meet their own political and economic interests.
Accordingly, each external player tried to support one specific faction, favoring either the Parliament in Tobruk, upheld by Khalifa Haftar, or the Presidential Council headed by Fayez al-Serraj in Tripoli, the latter being legitimized by the UN as well as by local militias in both Misrata and Tripoli.
This report analyzes the troublesome re-building of Libya with a focus on the specific role played by international actors (neighboring and Gulf countries, European nations, Russia and the US) which make it more of an international rather than a domestic issue.
After the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, many different actors – political and military; Islamist and not; tribal, local, domestic, foreign and transnational – are competing with one another for power and hegemony in Libya. What are the main forces at play today, and what are they trying to achieve? To tackle this issue and have a better understanding of the situation, we offer a brief guide to the major domestic players “on the ground”.
Last year’s events further exacerbated and focused global attention on the same uncertainties already weighing on the past decade: from Brexit, and the ensuing uncertainty about the future of the UK-EU relations, to the ever-growing success of populist and nationalist movements across Europe; from the unnerving paralysis of the international community on the war in Syria to the new wave of terrorist attacks in Europe; from renewed political and economic crises in pivot countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Turkey to Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, which may turn out to be a new and momentous source of uncertainty, also casting doubts on the remaining resilience of multilateral cooperation.
The 2017 ISPI report aims to analyze how such uncertainties are spreading from last year’s events, but also to try to fathom deeper trends. The first part of the Report will focus on the overall development of the international scenario, both from a political and an economic standpoint. The second part will shift the spotlight to Italy, where global uncertainties overlap with deep internal uncertainties and vulnerabilities.
Tomorrow 56 million Iranians are expected to go to the ballot box to vote in the 12th presidential election. At the end of a fierce electoral campaign, it is now clear it will be a duel between incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and the challenger, Ebrahim Raisi. These two clerics, the former supported by reformists and technocrats and the latter by conservatives and ultraradicals, are the last two candidates still in the running after the other two prominent contenders, Jahangiri and Qalibaf, withdrew in favour of Rouhani and Raisi, respectively.
Nowadays, the Mediterranean region’s balance of power is challenged by several conflicts and actors. Russia has taken advantage of this complex and fluid situation, becoming a key actor, expanding its military involvement, and building up political relationships. A key step in this process has been Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict since September 2015. While this was a surprising development, the paper argues that it is nonethless consistent with Russia’s regional interests and its renewed foreign policy.
This evening, the EU heads of state and government will meet in Malta to discuss the "external dimension of migration". The spotlight will be put on the Central Mediterranean route and, particularly, on Libya. The aim is to step up cooperation with the Libyan authorities in order to implement immediate measures to "stem migratory flows, break the business model of smugglers and save lives".
More than one year after the signing of the Libyan Political Accord (LPA) in Skhirat, implementation of the agreement is impeded by obstacles which now look insurmountable. Despite efforts by Western countries and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to empower the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), major constituencies have continued contesting its legitimacy and refusing its authority.
As the Trump administration assumes office, it faces a major challenge in Libya, where the country’s situation continues to deteriorate as an ongoing conflict worsens. The Libya Peace Agreement produced in 2015 by a UN-backed process, which established a Presidential Council and Government of National Accord (PC/GNA), is floundering. The PC/GNA has failed to garner credibility on the ground since landing in Tripoli almost a year ago and it has suffered from significant infighting.
The Mediterranean is not only an area of conflict and crisis, but also a space for momentous opportunities. Overcoming pessimism and developing a positive agenda for the region is the ultimate goal of Rome MED 2016, the conference organized from 1 to 3 December by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ISPI. On this occasion, ISPI published the MED Report to build upon the four pillars of the conference (shared prosperity, shared security, migration, and culture & civil society) and provide a useful tool to stimulate debate during Rome MED and beyond.
The Report is meant to launch new ideas to “leave the storm behind” and design a positive agenda for the future building on experts’ insights and policy suggestions. The volume is enriched by infographics and maps depicting the main regional trends. The goal of the Report is not to delve exhaustively into all the questions and the issues that concern the region and on which its future depends, but to provide in-depth insights and to formulate concrete proposals.