The POMED Wire

Libya’s Interim Government Resigns; Militia Agrees to Ceasefire

Photo Credit: Hamza Turkia

Just days after Islamists called for the General National Congress to reconvene and create a rival Islamist-dominated administration, Libya’s interim government resigned Thursday afternoon to allow the elected parliament to form a new government. The cabinet, led by Prime Minister Abdulla al-Thani, had been operating in the eastern part of the country in order to avoid Islamist militias in Tripoli. In its resignation statement, the House of Representatives said it hoped that a new government could be formed “representing all Libyan people [...] capable of re-establishing security and building a lawful state.”

Deborah Jones, the US Ambassador to Libya, said that despite the complicated turn of events the US “remains committed to working with the elected parliament, with the government of Libya, and with all Libyans.” In addition, she called for Libyans to “first try to reach a ceasefire agreement that will allow the parties to come together and build a kind of political consensus without which there would not be peace and stability in Libya.” Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi asserted that “although Egypt is the side most affected by the deteriorating political and security situation in Libya, it is committed not to …

Tunisia: AFRICOM Announces $60 Million in Military Aid

Photo Credit: SLD Info

General David Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Africa Command, announced that the U.S. will send Tunisia $60 million of military aid in the upcoming year to “fight Islamist militants who are threatening the country’s nascent democracy.” In a statement at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, he explained, “Because Tunisia and the United States face a common enemy, we must cooperate together to confront and defeat the threat of terrorism.” A press release from the Tunisian Defense Ministry quoted him as saying that ‘‘Tunisia is aware of security challenges, which are a shared international and regional responsibility.’’ The aid package is reported to consist of training, boats, and equipment to detect improvised explosive devices. This announcement follows a recent donation from the U.S. of $14 million of military equipment to the Ministry of the Interior. Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa also met with Rodriguez on Tuesday to discuss military and security cooperation.

Meanwhile, candidate registration for the upcoming legislative elections opened [Fr] on August 22 and will continue through August 29. Parties and alliances can register lists of candidates by district, and individuals can register independently. Preliminary candidate lists for the legislative elections will be published by …

POMED Notes: “ISIS, Radicalization, and the Politics of Violence and Alienation”

On Thursday, August 28 2014, The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) hosted a panel discussion at the National Press Club on “ISIS, Radicalization, and the Politics of Violence and Alienation.” John Esposito of Georgetown University, Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution were invited to speak at the conference with William Lawrence of CSID moderating.

For the full notes, continue reading or click here for the PDF.

Opening the event, John Esposito began by offering a background on ISIS in Syria and the US government’s reluctance to respond early to help the opposition groups. He explained how the collective failure to band together and unite against ISIS, coupled with GCC funding of jihadist proxy, wars only worsened the situation. He then teased out the main goal of ISIS, which is to create a state to govern and impose its version of a trans-national Caliphate. Most importantly, Esposito touched on the question of whether or not he thought religion was a primary driver for ISIS. While Islam is an important factor, Esposito argued that it is not the primary factor driving ISIS

Turkey Opposition Party Storms Out of Erdogan’s Inauguration

Photo Credit: Asharq Al-Awsat

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in today as President of Turkey, “cementing his position as its most powerful leader of recent times in a step opponents fear heralds more authoritarian rule and widening religious influence in public life.”  During the ceremony, he officially tapped Ahmet Davutoglu to replace him as prime minister. On Friday, Davutoglu is expected to announce the formation of a new government. Behlul Ozkan called Davutoglu, who previously served as minister of foreign affairs, in the New York Times a “pan-Islamist [who] believes that Turkey should look to the past and embrace Islamic values and institutions.”

As Erdogan and Davutoglu were welcomed by their supporters, members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) stormed out of the inauguration. CHP lawmaker Engin Altay ”threw a copy of the parliament’s constitution at the Parliament Speaker’s face” in protest, before walking out. Additionally, the leader of the CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who was not present, said during a speech in Istanbul, “I will not witness [his] lies,” and accused him of violating the Constitution. The Nationalist Movement Party and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) stayed throughout the ceremony.

The U.S. only sent the charge d’affaires at …

Algeria: High Profile Politician Fired by Bouteflika

Photo Credit: Medias24

Long-time Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has dismissed his long-time confidant and Special Advisor Abdelaziz Belkhadem. He did so by issuing a decree that ended his functions as minister and all his activities related to the state. Further, Said Bouhadja, the spokesperson for the National Liberation Front (FNL) political party said [Fr] that the President instructed the party’s secretary general to take necessary measures to ensure that Belkhadem can no longer take part in any activity inside the party.

No official statement has been released [Fr] regarding the reasons behind this decision; however, there is much speculation. In addition to being Special Adviser to the Presidency, Belkhadem was Prime Minister from 2006 to 2008  and leader of the FNL until February 2013, when he was replaced as leader, a move he did not ”appreciate.” He then reportedly attempted to use his nomination as Special Adviser to the President to attempt to regain influence in the party and pursue his presidential ambitions. Members of the current leadership of the FNL say this is one of the main reasons he was fired. Spokesman Bouhadja added that Belkhadem also ”spoke in the name of the President” too often and …

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