Stabilising Or Escalating the French Yellow Vest Movement?

This article seeks to assess the future of the Yellow Vest protest movement and of the situation in France. It looks at the way the actions of political authorities can stabilise a protest movement. Then it applies this understanding to the French movement. Indeed, if protests in France continue, Saturday 26 January 2019 would have […]

Understanding the French Yellow Vest Movement and its Crescendo (1)

France faces an escalating protest movement. This movement is called the “Yellow Vests” or “Yellow Vest”. The French government appears to be always late in the way it answers it; political analysts appear to be surprised by what is happening and to struggle to understand. Meanwhile, violence increases. Part 2 of the article: Stabilising Or […]

Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (4) – Failed negotiations

Scenario 1: Towards Peace – continued After having discussed scenarios involving a peacebuilding mission, with this article we shall continue detailing the scenarios assessing the potential for a peaceful solution for Libya’s future within the next three to five years, suggest indicators to monitor their happenstance and progressively evaluate their likelihood. Our first focus here will be on the scenario detailing the alternative to successfully forming a unity government under an externally brokered peace agreement. The first possibility for the evolution of sub-scenario 1.1 was presented here. Then, we shall concentrate on the scenario where the peace talk participants even fail to sign a peace agreement. The organization of the whole series of scenarios for the future of Libya can […]

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War in Libya and Its Futures – Tribal Dynamics and Civil War (1)

Tribalism in Libya’s civil war is a powerful dynamic that must be analyzed and understood before endeavoring foresight. Libya comprises 140 tribes, of which an estimated 30 to 40 have political influence, making it “one of the most tribal nations in the Arab world” (Kurczy and Hinshaw, The Christian Science Monitor, February 24, 2011; Varvelli, ISPI, May 2013). As a result, if a few or many of them side with one or the other warring groups, then this will impact the war. Tribal identity and its product of favoritism are dynamics that can have a profound effect on political allegiances (see section on Creating Grievances). Because tribes are inclusive and often have extended familial ties, they are naturally predisposed to favoritism […]

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War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Islamist & Misrata forces (1)

With this post of our series on the war in Libya, and the next, we shall examine the pro-Islamist Libyan actors, including Islamist groups, militias from Misrata, the General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli, and their regional supporters – Qatar and Turkey, after having focused previously on the Nationalist forces and the internationally recognized Council of Representatives in Tobruk (see Nationalist Forces I & Nationalist Forces II). The complexity and lethality of Libya’s civil war is steadily increasing for a host of reasons. As underlined previously (Mitchell, “Features of a War”), the Libyan conflict is not easily categorized. As far as ideological affiliation is concerned, for example, several Islamist militias in Libya hold to a Salafi-jihadist ideology. However, Seth G. Jones […]

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War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Nationalist Forces (2)

The civil war in Libya recently became more complex and dangerous, as the jihadist group Majlis Shura Shabab al-Islam (the Islamic Youth Shura Council) announced that the Eastern Libyan city of Derna is now part of the Islamic State (Zelin, October 10, 2014). An Islamic State (IS) foothold in Eastern Libya could pose concerns for international governments already combatting IS in Syria and Iraq. With its border less than 200 miles from Derna, Egypt is particularly concerned as they are already fighting Islamists, notably in the Sinai. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand all the actors on the Libyan battlefield, as we are doing here, if one wants to make sense of the civil war and its international ramifications. The […]

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War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Nationalist Forces (1)

With two primary warring alliances and two rival governments, Libya’s civil war is becoming increasingly polarized. The Islamist/Misratan coalition, or Dawn of Libya, which supports the General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli, is battling General Haftar and the Nationalist coalition, which supports the Council of Representatives in Tobruk. With this in mind, we shall begin the present state of play with the Nationalist coalition. In this post, we shall specifically evaluate the Petroleum Facilities Guard, the Army of Cyrenaica, the Cyrenaica Protection Force, the Libyan military, al-Saiqa (Special Forces), al-Sawaiq Brigade, and al-Qaqa Brigade. The remaining groups – the Libyan National Army, Zintan Brigades, various tribes and regional forces – shall be presented in the next post. The Council of […]

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War and Peace in Ukraine: The Separatists (1)

The war in Eastern Ukraine has killed from 15 April to 20 June an estimated number of “423 people, including servicemen and civilians,” (UN HCHR statement, 24 June 2014), which, compared with our own estimate of 99 deaths up to May 15 shows the rising violence of the ongoing fighting. Refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from the East now reach “nearly 34,600″ people,  with nearly half of the displacements – estimated to 15,200 within the Donetsk and Luhansk regions – taking place “over the last two weeks”, i.e. after 6 June 2014. Russia estimates that it now hosts 16,700 Ukrainian refugees on its territory, notably in the region of Rostov (Ria Novosti, 27 June; 14,000 on 25 June 2014, Itar-Tass). This, again, shows an intensification […]

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Conflict in Ukraine – State of Play – The Oligarchic System

This article is the second of the series on the conflict in Ukraine and starts a review of the various domestic actors. It focuses on the oligarchic system, its dynamics and challenges. On 15 May 2014, steelworkers working for oligarch Rinat Akhmetov took over the city of Mariupol in the Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, as reported by Andrew Kramer for the New York Times, even if the People’s Republic of Donetsk seems to have kept power (e.g. Roza Kazan, 18 May 2014), after Akhmetov released a first statement video (see original 14 May, with subtitles). Meanwhile, Kim Sengupta for The Independent, writing on the 9 May attack on Mariupol mentions that “An assortment took part in the assault, including a private army supposedly bankrolled by an oligarch – the “men in black”. […]

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Conflict in Ukraine – Setting the Stage

The crisis in Ukraine started on 21 November 2013 with the Euromaidan protests in Kiev. Six months later, it is threatening to become a full-blown civil war with severe global impacts, unless the situation is stabilized. It is thus very important to assess the short to medium term plausible futures for this conflict, including if stabilization occurs or seem to take place, […]