Ahmed Jehani Profile picture
Jun 1, 2018 39 tweets 16 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter

The Case for a ‘Strategic Backstop' mechanism for Libya

#Libya needs a strategic relationship with one member of the #UNSC to act as an International ‘Backstop’.

The purpose of the Strategic Backstop mechanism is to ensure effective 'Triangulation' of the #Libyan transition and ‘stop’ #Libya from falling ‘back’ into conflict
Without a strategic backstop mechanism, the unity and stability of the #UN Security Council itself is at stake.

In this thread I will lay out what why both #Libya and the International Community, need this backstop, and how it could function.
For two years we have said that #Libya can only stabilise via a rights-based economic agreement and reconciliation.  

Please see the thread #NewStartforLibya
This new system would be founded on a clear national framework of fiscal rules that would help 'shatter' Libya’s predatory economy, the key driver of the conflict.  

In his briefing to the UNSC last week, @GhassanSalame said this was a prerequisite for sustainable transition.
Then we said for this to happen a form of decentralised governance has to be put in place where the centre becomes smaller, smarter and more focused.
We said that this small centre can only emerge if the framework ensures that local governance rises too, as well as ensuring the population has a floor of safety and security from #militias to participate rather freely in elections and economic life.
#Libya snapped out of dictatorship and is trying to reorganise as a democracy with elections.

So its people have to be free from basic wants, as well as empowered to participate, if the elections are to be meaningful and bring stability and nation building.
Not solving the population’s dire need for safety, stability and basic services will indefinitely undermine democratic transition, and entrench centralised, predatory-patronage and personality politics.
So, how can this transition happen, in the light of #Libya's, and the international community’s, mutual entrapment?
To answer this, we argued that this rights-based approach can only come about from an effective 'Triangulation' of the #Libyan process between three parties: the international, the national, and the local/subnational, via a sustained mechanism
#Triangulation means that the parts that have helped to sink this ship, must work together to re-establish the national centre in a smarter way to steer the ship out of its swamp and onto a better route;
The local must push, the international must pull, and the national must steer, to get this ship out of the swamp and on a new course.
#Libyans must honour their commitments and equally, the international community has to help pull them to do so.
Unfortunately the “international community” is a nebulous term yet without a powerful outside influence Libya is doomed; it needs some form of pulling mechanism.

Without it none of the actors have an incentive in stability and will remain trapped in conflict.
But.. we don’t have a unified European Community that could help us with a new normative system.. we don’t have a unified regional Arab, African or Middle Eastern community.

This means we are indeed at the mercy of international interest.
The UN Security Council has for the last seven years proved it can’t do the job; it is in the business of policing the world, not the business of nation building.
The #UNSC can issue resolutions saying they agree, they confirm, they recognise, they support; they can say they will sanction or refer actors to the #ICC etc. But their power is limited to these acts.
The #UNSC do not have a mechanism to enable them to nurture agreements and help oversee their implementation
It would be hard to say that the 17th December 2015 #Skhirat Agreement, which has been repetitively recognised by the #UNSC, was a good agreement, especially if the #UNSC drops it, without a legitimate sustainable alternative
So far it can be said that #Libya has made a fool of the #UNSC, because its mechanisms were not designed for nation building, but for policing of the world.
#Libya was put under Chapter 7 for that purpose, as it was deemed a threat to the peace, security, safety and wellbeing of the international community.
For #Libya and the international community to get out of this mutual swamp requires at least one permanent member of the #UN Security Council to take a lead and #pull.
In practice probably only one country can lead, it cannot be all five members, but the mechanism would enable the positive collaboration of the IC as a whole.

This country would be the 'International Backstop'.
The only time the #UN can get things done is when one country in the UN Security Council takes lead, and so far this has involved summoning political personalities.

But this personalities approach risks adding more problems than it solves.
The recent events in #France are a case in point.  On the one hand a permanent member of the UNSC was able to gather many of the relevant participants.  But the focus was on personalities not frameworks and mechanisms.
This may ultimately threaten international cohesion even more than it threatens #Libya, a point aptly made by the latest @CrisisGroup report on the issue.
#Libyans may regroup around one person democratically or even undemocratically, but it is unlikely that the #UNSC can.

Persons, by nature, are temporary and unpredictable and risk causing major international divisions.
As such #Libya must now find an international backstop, and build a strategic bilateral relationship with it to assist in consolidating the emerging decentralised system of governance “#triangulation”.
The relationship should include three key things;
1- a strategic, legal and institutional framework,
2- a dedicated and competent individual from both countries to manage the relationship, and
3- a management toolkit.
The priority of the strategic backstop mechanism should be to stop #Libya from falling back into conflict, as well as prevent more disunity in the #UN Security Council produced by Libya.
A constitutional referendum/ declaration amendement is still not enough to prevent #Libya from falling back into conflict.

#Elections, with or without a document, are also likely to be disrespected and may produce a new round of conflict dividing #Libya and the IC further.
What both #Libya and the world need is a  mechanism to enable effective implementation of the rules and committements agreed by #Libyan and international actors alike.
This means that the mechanism should help ensure that constitutional process produces stable transition as well as legitimate elections, and good governance after that, or better at least.
The mechanism should also help anchor compliance and cooperation of all international actors within the framework of the #UN facilitated process for the long term.
The mechanism should not replace or circumvent the UN endorsed road map or @UNSMILibya but should be designed to augment it and work with it to support the #UNSC and Libyan leadership to steer the process.
The mechanism should also not be designed to supersede or replace the significant role of regional and european countries as partners for #Libya, but to help the #UN and #Libya mitigate risks and maximise opportunities for everyone.
The conclusion is that one country, which is a permanent member of the #UNSC, would be best placed to lead the triangulation process for #Libya.
But that process must be focused on frameworks and mechanisms first and personalities second, if at all, in contrast to the recent #Paris conference.

Thank you


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More from @AhmedMJehani

May 28, 2018
Twitter Thread - #NewStartforLibya

Ladies and gentlemen, the political and economic situation in #Libya today makes life hard for everyone, for #Libyans, our neighbours and the rest of the world. But we may still have hope that this can change.
I tweet today, not as a representative of any institution, faction or interest group but as someone who only wants the best for Libya; and #Libya surely deserves much better than she has had for the last fifty or so years.
I want to give you a summary of ideas that I have been developing for some time with a group of friends, professionals and academics which has become something of an informal think-tank.
Read 135 tweets

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