The POMED Wire

US and Allies Urge Libya to Approve UN Proposal


The State Department released a joint statement alongside the Foreign Ministers of Algeria, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Qatar, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs urging the parties to the Libyan National Dialogue to approve the UN-brokered political agreement. Citing instability and terrorism, the statement stressed the importance of approving the final text by the October 20 final deadline. “New elections can then be held which will finally give Libya a fully representative, inclusive, and democratic parliament whose legitimacy is acknowledged across the country and the world.”

The statement follows the widespread rejection of  the proposal and UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon‘s subsequent announcement of suggested unity government leaders by both the internationally recognized House of Representatives and Tripoli-based General National Congress. General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libya National Army, released a statement affirming his allegiance to the House of Representatives (HoR) and its policies, although the general “won’t allow HoR to be subjected to any western or external pressures or to acquiesce to any government that claims consensus, but tends to support terrorist elements inside Libya,” alluding to the UN negotiations. Libya …

Libyan Factions React to UN Unity Government Proposal

LeonPresserGNCAnnouncement_600Photo Credit: UN

UN envoy Bernardino Leon announced the names of the proposed Government of National Accord amid continuing concerns over the text of the agreement. He highlighted the geographic diversity of the selections, representing the western, eastern, and southern regions of Libya. Fayez Sarraj, an MP in the Tripoli parliament, was named as the proposed prime minister and Ahmed Meitig, Fathi Mejbari and Musa Kuni as his proposed deputies. He also named Omar Aswad from Zintan and Mohammed Ammari, a member of the GNC dialogue team, as senior ministers. Fathi Bashagha was announced as the potential National Security Advisor and Abdelrahman Sweihli as chair of the State Council.

Leon emphasized that the list needs to be approved by both sides. The proposed government would be based in Tripoli and comprised by a prime minister and two legislative bodies, the existing House of Representatives and a state council including members of the GNC.

Within Libya, Leon’s announcement was met with skepticism and outright rejection from several factions, with GNC MP Abdulsalam Bilashahir saying, “We are not a part of this [proposed] government. It means nothing to us and we were not consulted.” Ibrahim Alzaghiat of the internationally …

SFRC Recap: U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East: Yemen and the GCC

On Tuesday, October 6, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing titled “The U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East: Yemen and the Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.” Witnesses included Mary Beth Long of Metis Solutions and Stephen Seche of the Arab Gulf States Institute. Below is a recap of the proceedings.


GCC security was the primary focus of the Senate hearing addressing the conflict in Yemen, with Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) opening by proclaiming that the United States “must close the daylight between us and our GCC allies.” He conveyed his belief that the only show of support to the Middle East from the current administration was to Iran in the form of the nuclear deal. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) agreed, emphasizing the regional impact of the nuclear deal on the Gulf states’ perception of waning U.S. support. He also asserted that there is no military solution for the violence in Yemen, stating, “We must move forward with a political solution.”

In his testimony, Seche stated that the Gulf states are more than ever employing their military arsenals in order to influence outcomes in the region, a likely reaction to continual Iranian interference …

Leahy Cosponsors BICI Accountability Act; NDAA Features Bahrain Language

Photo Credit: J.Scott Applewhite/AP

It has been confirmed that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is the newest cosponsor of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) Accountability Act of 2015.  Leahy joins Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on the bill.  The legislation seeks to ban the sale of  arms to Bahrain until the country complies with the recommendations laid out  by the 2011 BICI report.  The bans would target small arms, tear gas, Humvees, and “other items that could reasonably be used for crowd control purposes.” A companion bill is currently being proposed in the House of Representatives and is cosponsored by Representatives James McGovern (D-MA), Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA).

Bahrain’s human rights situation has increasingly deteriorated since 2011 when popular, pro-democracy protests began in the country.  Since then, the government has often resorted to using tactics involving tear gas and light weapons to disperse protesters. In 2013, the Department of State evaluated  the country’s progress on the implementation of the 2011 Commission’s recommendations and it was found that progress had been made on only 5 of the 26 suggestions.

In  related news, the  House of Representatives released a draft version of the fiscal …

Human Rights Groups Criticize UN Resolution on Yemen

Saudi airstrike Source Credit: Reuters

The UN Human Rights Council faces growing criticism for adopting a watered-down resolution addressing reported human rights violations in Yemen. The Netherlands abandoned a resolution which would have looked into possible war crimes perpetrated by both the Houthi rebels and Saudi-led coalition. UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein previously supported a more stringent evaluation of the Saudi role in the Yemeni conflict, with the UN Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide expressing concern over the conflict’s toll on civilians and the “virtual silence of the international community.” In a stark shift, Hussein and the Council adopted an alternate, Saudi-crafted text with a decree from exiled Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi calling for UN technical assistance and “capacity building.”

After backing the Dutch resolution, the United States, France, and Britain have acceded to the consensus resolution, a decision which many human rights groups criticized. Human Rights Watch’s Phillipe Dam stated that “the Human Rights Council squandered an important chance to deter further abuses.” U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper emphasized “the terrible humanitarian toll” in Yemen and the United States’ willingness to take further humanitarian action if the situation did not improve. Reportedly, the Obama administration is …

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