Category: Multilateralism


European Council on Foreign Relations

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Yesterday, the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first Pan-European think-tank, released details of its European Foreign Policy Scorecard 2012.  It offers an overview of how EU member states dealt with Foreign Policy issues in 2011, and tells us who the leaders and slackers were on each issue. As a Blogger/Journalist, I was offered an advance copy, but under embargo. But the embargo is now lifted, and I can release my analysis of the Scorecard.

Bearing a British passport, I’m interested in how the UK fares under scrutiny…

By the way, this post was featured on Liberal Democrat Voice’s Top of the Blogs: The Golden Dozen! My first, and thanks very much to Helen Duffett for including it, and Alisdair Calder McGregor for recommending me.
Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

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Something very irritating is spewing from Cameron’s mouth right now… more so than normal for Britain’s dear Prime Minister.

Today, in the wake of his disastrous actions at the #EUC

The Moment The Deal Was Done

The Moment The Deal Was Done from the Independent - Hedegaard and Natarajan, watched by US Climate Envoy Todd Stern and Chinese Climate Minister, Xie Zhenhua.

O European Council Summit and the triumphant actions of EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard in breaking down India’s opposition to a new carbon emissions limiting treaty, during the international climate conference at Durban, Cameron has been defending one and lauding the other. But if only he’d learnt how to negotiate from Hedegaard, he, and Britain, would never have been in this mess in the first place…

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Flag of the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Mov...

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As representatives of the international community assemble in Juba, the capital of the newly-independent Republic of South Sudan, Spineless Liberal takes a look at the challenges facing the world’s newest country.

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Muammar al Gaddafi Mouammar Kadhafi Colonel Qu...

Image by Abode of Chaos via Flickr

Over the past 24 hours, the Libyan opposition has made major gains against Gaddafi‘s forces – under the cover of the no-fly zone. The cities of Ajdabiya and Brega, crucial outposts on the main highway along the coast, have been retaken. This makes a full attack on Benghazi difficult. There are also reports emerging that the rebels have retaken the city of Ras Lanuf, a crucial oil-supplying town. Hurting Gaddafi’s economy can only help in his (hopeful) eventual overthrow.

What has changed? We changed. Thanks to the Western (and now Qatari) imposed no-fly zone over Libya, the rebels are benefitting from a huge boost in morale, knowing that the international community supports them, and from the no-fly zone grounding Gaddafi’s deadly air force.

Apparently, Ajdabiya was taken mostly because of the RAF. A devastating bombardment of the city by RAF Tornadoes led to Gaddafi’s forces melting away.

The French air force has also been suppressing Gaddafi’s air force around Misurata, a city besieged. It took down, reportedly, three planes and two helicopters last night.

Liam Fox has claimed that we will not be directly suppling the rebels with arms, citing the presence of a UN weapons embargo.  Mind you, Resolution 1973, only cites arms delivered to the “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya“, the name of Libya under Gaddafi. The Transitional Council calls the country the Libyan Republic. As France recognises the rebels as the legitimate government, are they bound by this embargo? I’m no lawyer, but it’s a point to explore…

So, that’s the latest updates on Libya. A clear change of fortunes for the rebel forces, that we can only hope will continue.

The leader de facto of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi.

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 Bahrain Updates –

A Friday “day of rage” is ongoing, despite martial law. But who is organising it?

Neither Wefaq not the February 14 Youth Movement have claimed responsibility, and Wefaq, a Shia opposition group, have distanced themselves from the protests, seemingly hinting that it is now too dangerous to protests, with Saudi troops on the streets.

Libya Updates -

NATO appears to be taking over command of the no-fly zone over Libya, but the US will remain in charge of air strikes on Gaddafi’s ground forces.

This seems mostly to be the only way to get Turkey on board, a country which opposes bombing ground targets as it fears civilian casualties.

The situation now seems to ask the question – what is the goal? I still believe that we cannot only side with the rebels, for fear of poisoning our reputations in the eyes of other Arab states. We must appear to remain impartial and legitimate. But really, the goal must be Gaddafi’s removal. The continuing economic sanctions will hopefully force him to submit to a change in leadership. In the meantime, covertly or via France (which recognises the Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya), the west and Arab states must supply the rebels. This will allow them to survive, and even force Gaddafi out, by themselves. Supplies and training are crucial for the rebellion.

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