Climate Nightmare in the Middle East

The summer of 2015 has been a terrible climate moment and an energy game changer in the Middle East. From the end of July to the middle of August, a terrible heat wave has swept the whole region, from Iran and the Persian Gulf to Egypt, causing hundreds of deaths and a heavy pressure on the health of people, the infrastructures and social cohesion (Kyle Jaeger, “”Heat Dome” in the Middle East is ravaging region’s residents”, ATTN, August 4th, 2015). At the end of this sequence, at the beginning of September, the Italian oil giant corporation ENI announced having found a mammoth off shore deposit of natural gas in the Egyptian economic exclusive zone (Jeff Reed, “ Elephant discovery made […]

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Update – War in Libya and its Futures – The Islamic State Advance and Impacts

In the past weeks, several major developments occurred in Libya that will affect the dynamics of the civil war, and on the longer term, most probably, its outcome. Egyptian airstrikes on Libyan soil, increased Russian support and involvement with the Council of Representatives (the internationally-recognized Libyan government), the Council’s suspended then renewed participation in the UN peace talks, its request to remove the arms embargo, and conflicting support in the UN for an intervention are all directly linked to the increased hostilities and threat from Islamic State elements in Libya. The United States and Britain stand currently opposed to any intervention and to Libya’s appeal to lift the arms embargo, citing the lack of a unified government that could not […]

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At War against a Global Islamic State – Facing a Strategic Trap in Somalia?

The Islamic State’s actions are continuing globally, unfortunately illustrating the points made previously in “A Global Theatre of War” (23 Nov 2015), with the San Bernardino attacks in the U.S. on 2 December 2015 (BBC News, 7 Dec 2015) and the stabbing of three people in the tube station in London on 5 December 2015 (e.g. The Telegraph, 7 dec 2015). Meanwhile, and despite setbacks in Mesopotamia where the Islamic State is besieged in Ramadi, where it lost Sinjar to the Kurds and Yazidis, but immediately reopened a new route between Mosul and Raqqa, the Khilafah continues its strategy to call to new people, for example with the publication of a first Nasheed in Mandarin likely aimed at the Hui, Chinese Muslims, however unlikely the Hui as a group may […]

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Libyan War Spills Over to Europe, Algeria, and Niger – Sc 2.2 (1) – Scenarios for the Future of Libya

This article is the first of our series focusing on scenarios depicting the range of spillover that could stem from the Libyan war. In our previous article, we concluded the scenarios for international intervention in light of a fragmenting unity government. In this article, we shall focus on scenarios related to conflict spillover in only one direction (towards Europe), and then spillover in two directions (west towards Algeria and south towards Niger). These scenarios are grounded in the premises that the evolution of the civil war leads to spillover. As a result, the war changes from an internal civil war within the bounds of Libyan borders with a measure of external involvement, to a renewed war that encompasses more than […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 2.4 Partition and Spill Over

In our previous article, we detailed a partition scenario where Libya splits into independent states along tribal and provincial lines, as well as a north-south axis, and in the one before, we focused on various possible spill over. This article focuses on a combination of the two cases, partition and spill over scenarios. In the first scenario, the Amazigh, Tuareg, and Toubou tribes outright declare independence and break away from the Libyan state, which leads to significant spill over in Algeria, Niger, and Chad. In the second scenario, Libya is partitioned along provincial lines, which leads to spill over in all directions. In the last scenario, Libya splits apart along a north-south axis located through Sirte, and bordering countries experience […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 2 (9) Fragmentation and International Intervention

This article is the ninth of our series focusing on scenarios depicting the range of possible interventions in the Libyan war. In our previous article, we discussed an international intervention that supports a unity government, despite initial fragmentation – a group of scenarios we wrap up here. In this article, we shall focus on scenarios related to the continued fragmentation of the unity government, including interventions that may occur if the unity government fails. In our scenario, our UN-backed Libyan unity government is unable to mitigate the fragmentation in its political leadership and armed coalition. The scenarios discussed below point out some crucial elements that should be considered: the success or failure of such an intervention will depend heavily on […]

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Libya’s Future Scenarios – Sc 2 (7) Libyans vs International Coalition, Tensions ahead

This article is the seventh of our series focusing on scenarios depicting interventions in the Libyan war. In our previous article, we discussed an international intervention that entered the Libyan conflict in favor of the nationalists, but partnered with several powerful Libyan factions. Though the coalition prefers as many Libyan partners as possible, they focus more on the powerful groups, such as Zintan, Misrata, and the Libyan military. At this stage of our scenario, the international coalition encounters difficulties in partnering with Libyan factions and faces the potential of partnered groups breaking away. Note: Considering the future names of potential factions that would result from a new split between the unity government, we shall use the label nationalist for those that supported the nationalist/liberal-dominated […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 2 (6) International Intervention with Libyan Partners

This article is the sixth of our series focusing on scenarios depicting interventions in the Libyan war. In our previous article, we discussed the preliminary stages of an international coalition created to intervene in Libya in favor of the nationalists – either by invitation from the nationalist government, or if the new unity government fails and fragments. However, Libya’s new Government of National Accord (GNA) is now recognized by the U.S., UK, Italy, Germany and France as “the only legitimate government in Libya” (European Union Statement, March 13, 2016; Musa, Boston Globe, March 13, 2016), which means that any international intervention that favors the nationalist side will now occur only after (and if) this unity government fragments into former factions. […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 2 (8) Intervention for a UN-backed Government

This article is the eighth of our series focusing on scenarios depicting interventions in the Libyan war. In our previous article, we discussed an international intervention that started to support the nationalist side of the conflict, but encountered difficulties in partnering with Libyan factions on the ground, as well as an air-strike-only campaign by the international coalition that abandoned the strategy of partnering with a spectrum of Libyan groups – a group of scenarios we wrap up here. In this article, we shall focus on scenarios related to an intervention that supports a UN-backed Libyan unity government, a case very similar to what is currently taking shape with the Government of National Accord. In our scenario, our UN-backed Libyan unity […]

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The Islamic State in Libya – When Libyan Tribes Pledge Allegiance to the Khalifah

The coming Battle for Sirte to defeat the Islamic State in Libya is principally seen from the perspective of the struggle between the U.N.-backed new government supported by some militias including Misrata, and those who refuse that government’s legitimacy, such as nationalist Haftar (e.g. “The scramble for Sirte”, The Economist, 14 May 2016. In the meanwhile, the Islamic State becomes an insignificant threat. Similarly, the situation on the ground, notably the tribes and related politics, are quasi ignored. Yet, it is crucial to have an understanding of what is happening, which goes beyond a top-down approach, and to consider also the perspective of the enemy, through red team analysis for example, as we are doing here. The consequences for not doing so may be deleterious, […]

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