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The two Libyan governments reunited

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What the Enlightenment political philosopher Montesquieu wrote: “There are three types of government ….” does not apply to the Maghreb region where there are one or two political authorities.

If we want the agreement just signed in Rome between the two Libyan factions to work – apart from the difficulty of having, in forty days, the consent of all participants – we have to think about money, namely the huge amount of money that the two Libyan factions should share out.

Hassan Bouhadi is the President of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) appointed by the internationally recognized government of Tobruk.

Coincidentally, the government supported by Turkey and Qatar, the same States which operate in favour of Isis/Daesh between Syria and Iraq.

The Sunni project for Mesopotamia is incompatible with NATO’s current stance, while Iran is managing its P5+1 nuclear deal in an ambiguous way, as demonstrated by the recent results of IAEA inspections.

The Atlantic Alliance shall rethink its presence in the Middle East and link it to the “long arm” required to control the Asian regional seas and the land routes of the new “Silk Road” planned by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

This is the political stance of LIA, which has begun legal actions in London, in relation to the faction of the Libyan Investment Authority linked to the rival government of Tripoli.

As often happened to the best young Libyans, Bouhadi studied with excellent results at the University College of London and was a manager of the Stabilization Team for the National Transitional Council, the interim government which prepared the first post-Gaddafi elections of July 7, 2012. Beforehand, Bouhadi had worked for the North American Bechtel, as well as for BASF and General Electric.

He shall wait until January 2016 for the British Court to decide, but the political negotiations between both factions could be faster, after the Rome Conference of December 13, 2015.

The other director of LIA, for the rival government, is Abdlulmagid Breish, operating from his headquarters in Malta.

It is worth recalling that, before the “revolution”, the reserves of the Central Bank of Libya amounted to 240 billion US dollars while today, according to the LIA sources in Malta, they are an “operational reserve” of less than 70 billion US dollars.

The transactions and operations of the National Oil Corporation, the Central Bank of Libya and LIA overlap and create unnecessary duplication and management costs. With great effrontery, the Rome Conference has spoken of “new leaders for the Central Bank of Libya,” but not for LIA, and this would be a problem.

These costs – reduced to rents and unproductive income – will go to support some local armed forces.

The LIA has two pending legal actions: the former against Goldman Sachs, to the tune of 3.3 billion US dollars, and the latter against Societé Générale, which, according to the pre-revolutionary Libyans, is worth additional 3.3 billions.

The Libyan managers think that Goldman Sachs has gained an illegal profit of 350 millions from the funds managed by LIA but, for some analysts, the financial institution could be liable only for losses amounting to 128 millions for Gaddafi and post-Gaddafi investors.

Basically the Libyan managers accuse the two financial institutions of having lost several billion US dollars from Libyan State funds due to misjudgements and misinterpretations. In fact, as we will see later, many people “recommended” bad investment operations to Colonel Gaddafi, including former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, acting as broker with Gaddafi on behalf of JP Morgan.

One is reminded of the self-deprecating old saying of Swiss bankers: “Do you want little capital to manage? Give a large amount of money to a Swiss banker”.

Moreover, it was precisely the decision to distribute money to all the Libyans who were or believed to have been damaged by Gaddafi’s regime or by civil war to destroy it and arm the countless militias.

Said militias, inter alia, wage and fight wars or threaten to do so according to the governments being sensitive or not to their economic demands.

In this case, it would have sufficed to read Niccolò Machiavelli’s book The Art of War, but now nobody reads the classics any longer and the results are before us to be seen.

Today, the Libyan economy is on the verge of collapse and there is a real risk of national bankruptcy. This applies to both governments, which are therefore looking for an agreement enabling them to grab the remaining treasures of LIA and the other financial structures of the old Gaddafi’s regime.

According to the analyses made by the LIA based in Malta, the reserves of the issuing bank decreased from 240 billion dollars immediately before the “revolution” to only 70 billions.

Furthermore the two governments duplicate their actions against the National Bank and the Libyan Investment Authority itself, by often issuing diverging directives for which no funds are available – funds which, however, can no longer come from oil since the British and French oil companies have now decided to invest no longer in their terminals and wells in Libya.

The Maltese LIA has addressed to the London-based law firm Stephenson Harwood and Enyo, while Bouhadi, the Head of the financial Authority in Libya, has chosen another London-based law firm, Keystone Law Firm.

In 2014, Deloitte certified that the active funds of the Libyan Investment Authority amounted to 67 billion US dollars, with properties abroad intact.

The LIA portfolio, however, is divided into two parts: shares and equity shareholdings in 550 companies, scattered throughout Africa, the Middle East and Europe, which hold – fully or partially – hotels, real estate, non-oil commodities, agriculture and, obviously, the distribution of natural gas and oil for motor vehicle transport.

The other 50% of the active assets of the Libyan Investment Authority is purely financial: fixed income securities, hedge fund shareholdings and all the other types of financial investment.

The LIA owns part of Oilinvest, a company with other Libyan shareholders, incorporated and registered in the Netherlands, owning two refineries, one in Collombey, Switzerland and the other in Holborn, Germany.

Oilinvest has a warehouse in Cremona, capable of storing 90,000 barrels/day, as well as over 3,000 Tamoil petrol stations; real estate linked to oil distribution; approximately 34% of direct investment in Tamoil itself, which has a turnover of 19 billion Swiss francs, equivalent to about 20 billion US dollars.

With specific reference to Italy’s national security, it is also worth recalling that over 20% of hydrocarbons come from Genoa via the pipeline between the Rhine Valley and the Canton of Valais.

The project of Breish, the Head of the Maltese “faction” of LIA, is to divide the assets into three funds: the Future Generation Fund, fuelled by the sales of many of the 550 companies in the current LIA – companies to be liquidated over a two-three year period; a Budget Stabilization Fund, fuelled by 20-30% of the Libyan oil sales; a third Fund which – again fuelled by oil revenues – will invest in local companies in Libya and especially in real estate and in the reconstruction after the post-Gaddafi civil war.

Possibly, it would be positive for the central Authority, now reunited after the Rome Agreement, to avoid oil smuggling – however, heavily subsidized by governments – which is the main funding source of Libya Dawn.

It will be also necessary to see how to solve the issue of Libyan properties in Italy, as well as of the ENI shares up to the land of Pantelleria, which are not secondary for the efficacy of both governments’ reunification, which could last less than hoped for if there were no possibility of reuniting LIA and getting back Libya’s immense wealth.

The new government will have legitimacy if it can use its huge resources to solve the economic crisis affecting at least half of the Libyan population, amounting to 6.3 million people; give a home to the over 100,000 displaced people, as well as support humanitarian assistance for 2.44 million Libyans, including 1.35 million women and children.

Little time is left: the Central Bank is selling its reserves and the planned welfare spending has been halved.

And here the high-mindedness of the new “united” government’s will be tested, and we will see whether the extraordinary Libyan financial network abroad will be skilful enough to soon supply liquidity to the new government created by the Rome Agreement.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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Sign of a Volcano Erupting in Iran

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Since its inception in 1979, the Iranian regime has relied on two pillars to sustain its hold on power: relentless repression at home, and terrorism and warmongering abroad. Since the regime is out of step with the modernity of the 21st century, it needs to resort to belligerent policies in order to impose itself upon the existing international order.

Regime leaders know that it is exactly their foreign transgressions that have now become a source of serious alarm for European and American interlocutors. Even if a new round of negotiations were to take place, both the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the President, Hassan Rouhani, understand that the nuclear issue will not be the only topic of conversation.

In a speech on January 8, Khamenei insisted on the regime’s regional adventurism and missiles program, saying that “the Islamic Republic has a duty to act in a way that strengthens its friends and supporters in the region.” Tehran has always made renouncing regional influence and its missiles program a red line. 

However, speaking on behalf of the European Union, German Foreign Minister Haiku Moss has said that a reinvigorated Iran deal must include new nuclear restrictions as well as an end to the testing of ballistic missiles. At the same time, he called for “limitation of Iran’s regional power” in the form of a “new agreement.”

Therefore, one of the pillars of the regime’s survival (foreign adventurism) has clearly been targeted by foreign powers. The other (domestic repression) is being challenged by the Iranian people.

A Social Volcano about to Erupt

In recent months, hundreds of centers controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the paramilitary Bassij, and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) have been targeted by young activists seeking to overthrow the regime. Simultaneously, posters and banners of regime leaders like Khamenei and eliminated Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani have been torched across the country.

The regime often blames these acts of dissent on “Resistance Units,” which are organized teams of young dissidents calling for the theocracy’s overthrowand reported to be affiliated with the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).A few short months before the massive November 2019 uprisings in Iran, the Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi claimed 116 of these “teams have been dealt with” in a matter of months. That is an indication that Tehran is witnessing a significant rise in such activities.

Time will tell if the trajectory of Iranian politics would experience a radical departure in the form of the regime’s ultimate collapse. All indicators are that the pace and depth of resistance appear to be increasing. Therefore, officials in Tehran may not be as optimistic as the rest of us about what lies ahead in 2021.

Warnings of Mass Uprisings

Practically every media outlet or official in Iran has been warning of a pending social explosion due to prevalent poverty and rampant unemployment. For example, one state-run daily refers to the worrying conditions and the lack of a “barrier against the volcano of the hungry” (Arman, December 26, 2020).

Another warns that “in an instant and with a simple spark of provocation, the Army of the Hungry may revolt.” (Hamdeli, December 20, 2020).The Iranian economy is collapsing andmore than 70% of society now lives below the poverty line.

Despite the supreme leader’s empty rhetoric and desperate show of power, he is well aware that he must negotiate and so that the sanctions on the sale of oil are eased, albeit in small quantities, in order to avoid more uprisings.

Khamenei is Weak and Vulnerable

Despite the danger of a social explosion, however, Khamenei and his regime are now at their weakest point since 1979. They cannot enter negotiations with US President Biden and Europe at this time. Khamenei can ill afford to look weak by backing down and engaging in such talks, especially prior to the presidential elections in June. So, he has decided to close ranks instead of opening up.

Khamenei is looking to limit rival factions’ power, including those supporting Rouhani. During the recent parliamentary elections, he pretty much purged so-called “reformist” candidates. Recent laws defining new conditions for presidential candidates have paved the way for Khamenei’s allies – like parliamentary speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf – to replace Rouhani. Khamenei calculates that once he has closed ranks and his faction controls all the levers of power, including the presidency, parliament, and judiciary, he would be able to entertain negotiations.

At the same time, he is trying to gain as much leverage in the nuclear arena in order to avoid giving concessions in other areas. Khamenei wants to boost the morale of his forces. Doling out regional or missile concessions would spell disaster for that strategy, leading to more defections in the ranks of the IRGC.Still, due to the sanctions, he is between a rock and a hard place. His regime is at its weakest point in history and extremely vulnerable.

One of the extremely unpopular moves he recently made was that he personally banned the import of coronavirus vaccines from France, Britain, and the US. Average Iranians, who have lost tens of thousands of loved ones to the virus and are reeling under the severe economic ramifications, are furious.

The Iranian society is growing more enraged at the regime by the day. Calls for overthrow, as indicated in the November 2019 uprising, are growing. Meanwhile, the regime has little leverage to demand the lifting of sanctions as both Europe and Washington target its regional interference and missiles program. With options severely narrowing, the regime may finally be at the end of its rope.

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100th Anniversary of the Turkish Constitution

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Teşkilatı-Esasiye Law, the law provides for the establishment of the State of Turkey on January 20, 1921. This law also carries its status as Turkey’s first constitution.

The Ottoman State displayed a submissive understanding in the face of the occupations experienced in its last period. The people displayed an important struggle for independence by showing the necessary reaction and effort during the 1st World War against these invasions. After the war, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, exhibited a legitimate ground to fit this into the struggle for independence and contemporary, landed in Samsun on May 19, 1919 to establish a modern Turkey. This date was also the first step in the War of Independence launched against the occupations across the country.

After Samsun, Mustafa Kemal, who held various meetings and congresses in Amasya and Erzurum, respectively, went to Sivas from here and held the Sivas Congress with the representatives determined by the people from every province. September 4, 1919 at the congress held in Sivas with the participation of delegates from all over Turkey, Istanbul until the establishment of the new Chamber of Deputies of the general elections made the government decide to cut all formal ties. A Council of Representatives was established in order to establish a new administrative and political organization throughout the country.

As a result of the election held in 1920, the last Parliamentary Assembly of the Ottoman Empire was established, but on March 16, 1920, Istanbul was occupied by the British and the pro-National Struggle MPs were arrested. The parliament that convened on March 18 announced that it dissolved itself. With the dissolution of the last Ottoman Parliament, Mustafa Kemal announced in the statement he published on behalf of the Representation Committee that he wanted the MPs who could escape the occupation in Istanbul to come to Ankara.

The Grand National Assembly was Established

MPs who managed to escape secretly from Istanbul deputies from all over Turkey, Mustafa Kemal’s leadership in Ankara on 23 April 1920, which was collected and laid the foundations of the Republic of Turkey Grand National Assembly was opened. The next day, on April 24, 1920, Mustafa Kemal Pasha was elected president of the Grand National Assembly. The Assembly, which adopted the principle of unity of forces, thus started its work to ensure the independence of the nation and the liberation of the state.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha, as the Speaker of the Assembly, presented a draft on September 13, 1920 with the title “Populism Program” consisting of 31 articles. For the draft, Mustafa Kemal said, “The nature of our existence, the essentiality of the nation, has proved the general trend of the nation, it is populism and the people’s government. It means that governments fall into the hands of the people ”and stated that this is an obligation. On September 18, 1920, the Populism Program prepared by the government was read in the Parliament. Malatya Deputy Lütfi Bey “This statement contains many principles”. First of all, I recommend him to go to the Principles of Law ”. Trabzon Deputy Ali Şükrü Bey stated that this draft was not a draft law and did not want it to be sent to the committee. In his speech, Minister of Finance Ferit Bey underlined that the draft law is a draft law and said, “This program is the political program of the government.”

At the end of the discussions, it was decided to send the program to a special committee consisting of three people from each branch. The members of the special commission named Encümen-i Mahsus were determined on September 25 and started their work. The Council completed its first work on October 21, 1920, and the program was put on the parliament’s agenda on October 27. The Council made some changes in the Fundamental and Administration sections of the Government Program and arranged this as a draft Law of Organization. He presented the justification of the arrangement he made to the Parliament. The draft law prepared by the Encümen-i Mahsus, which was submitted to the Parliament as the Fundamental Law of the Organization, consisted of 23 articles and two sections as Mevaddı Fundamental and Administrative. Some of the articles in the Populism Program were not included in the Draft Law on the Organization-ı Esasiye, which was arranged by the Encümen-i Mahsus and submitted to the Assembly. Article 5, which includes the subject of caliphate and sultanate, Article 10, which includes the number of people in the Grand National Assembly, and Article 16 regarding the army, were not included in the Draft Law on the Principles of Organization. While 11 items were accepted as they are, changes were made on 12 items. An Article-i Individual was added by the Encümen-i Mahsus. It was requested that the articles and provisions of the Basis of the Law, which were not contradicted to the law at the time the draft Law on the Principles of the Organization was discussed in the Assembly. However, as the Speaker of the Assembly Mustafa Kemal opposed this request, such a provision was not included in the Constitutional Law of the Organization. Therefore, with the Law of Fundamentals of the Organization, his relationship with the Ottoman Empire’s Basis of Law was officially terminated.

These discussions lasted about five months. The Fundamental Organization Law was accepted in the Parliament on January 20, 1921. A special method and quorum was not sought in the adoption of the law. Mustafa Kemal sent the Law of Constitution to the Grand Vizier Tevfik Pasha by telegram. No. 85 “Organization Fundamental Law” Article 23, and also carries the distinction of being Turkey’s first constitution, which consists of discrete items. One of the most important features of this Constitution is that even though the Ottoman Empire did not come to an end, it was declared that it would be administered by the Grand National Assembly and that sovereignty belonged to the nation, and the system, which was actually implemented with the principle of unity of powers, was placed on a constitutional basis.

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Call for International Community: A Story of Israeli Colonialism

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One of the biggest myths about the Israel-Palestine conflict is that it has been going on for centuries, that this is all about ancient religious hatreds. Truth be told, while religion is included, the contention is for the most part around two gatherings of individuals who guarantee a similar land. It really goes back about a century, to the early 1900s. Around at that point, the locale along the eastern Mediterranean we currently call Israel-Palestine had been under Ottoman Empire for a considerable length of time. It was religiously diverse, including mostly Muslims and Christians but also a small number of Jews, who lived generally in peace and it was changing two important ways. In the first place, more individuals in the area were building up a feeling of being ethnic Arabs as well as Palestinians, a national personality. At the same time, not so far away in Europe more Jews joining a movement called Zionism, which said that Judaism was not just a religion but a nationality, one that deserved a nation of its own. Following quite a while of mistreatment, many accepted a Jewish state was their lone method of wellbeing. They saw their notable country in the Middle East as their best trust in building up it. In the primary many years of the twentieth century, a huge number of European Jews moved there. After World War one, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the British and French Empire carved up the Middle East, with the British taking control of the region it called the British Mandate for Palestine.

At first, the British allowed Jewish immigration, but as more Jews arrived, settling into farming communes, tension between Jews and Arab grew. The two sides submitted demonstrations of brutality and by the 1930s, the British started restricting Jewish movement. Accordingly, Jewish civilian armies framed to battle both the neighborhood Arabs and to oppose British rule. Then, came the Holocaust, leading many more Jews to flee Europe for British Palestine, and galvanizing much of the world in support of Jewish state. In 1947, as sectarian violence between Arab and Jews there grew, the United Nations approved a plan to divide British Palestine into two separate states: One for Jews, Israel and one for Arabs, Palestine. The city of Jerusalem, where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, all have sacred destinations, it was to turn into a special international zone. The arrangement was intended to give Jews a state, to set up Palestinian autonomy, and to end the partisan viciousness that the British could not control anymore. The Jews accepted the plan and declared independence as Israel but on the other hand, Arabs throughout the region saw the UN plan as just more European colonialism trying to steal their land. Many of the Arabs states, who had just recently won independence themselves, declared war on Israel to establish a unified Arab. The new state of Israel won the war in any case, all the while, they pushed well past their fringes under the UN plan, taking the western portion of Jerusalem and a great part of the land that was to have been a piece of Palestine. They also expelled huge number of Palestinians from their homes, creating a massive refugee population whose descendants today number about 7 million. Towards the end of the war, Israel controlled the entirety of the region except for Gaza, which Egypt controlled, and the West Bank, which Jordan controlled. This was the start of the decades-long Arab-Israeli clash. In 1967, Israel and the neighboring Arab states battled another war. At the point when it finished, Israel had held onto the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan, and both Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt.

Israel’s military is still occupying the Palestinians territories of the West Bank and Gaza, and this was when the conflict became an Israeli-Palestinian struggle. The Palestinian Liberation Organization, which had shaped during the 1960s to look for a Palestinian state, battled against Israel. At first, the PLO asserted all of what had been British Palestine, which means it needed to end the state of Israel altogether. Battling among Israel and the PLO continued for quite a long time, in any event, including a 1982 Israeli intrusion of Lebanon to kick the gathering out of Beirut. The PLO later said it would acknowledge isolating the land among Israel and Palestine, yet the contention proceeded. As the entirety of this was going on, something sensational was changing in the Israel-involved Palestinian domains, Israelis were moving in. these individuals are called pilgrims and they made their homes in the West Bank and Gaza whether Palestinians needed them or not. Some moved for strict reasons, some since they need to guarantee the land for Israel, and others are regularly financed by the Israeli government. Today there are few hundred thousand pioneers in an involved area even though the International thinks of them as unlawful.

Firstly, and most importantly to resolve any problem we must diagnose the real problem. It is essential to recall that there is no “Palestine issue” but instead an “Israeli colonial problem”. Problems are getting unbearable for Palestinians, however. Inside the West Bank, Palestinians were being surrounded by a somewhat-increasing number of settlements, which mostly respond with wars and now and then with barbarianism and so most clearly require ordinary lives. Within Israel however, the overwhelming majority have been unconcerned, as well as the repression usually holds the argument mildly excluded throughout their daily lives, despite snippets of short and surprising brutalities. There is almost no political desire for peace, no one really recognizes where the conflict is headed. A Third Intifada possible? There will be a collapse in the Palestinian Authority?  In either circumstance, everyone understands that scenario, as they are at present, will no doubt endure. Israel’s occupation over the Palestinians becomes too precarious yet to think permanent, so it would be a ton more awful, even if anything sensational shifts.

The overall creation of the whole situation must determine the outcome; two states or one bi-national entity. The continuing with speculation about the manifestation or duality of states is indeed not unnecessary; it may prove destructive and crippling.Through the past, facts are obvious that colonialism cannot continue until forever. Similar situation applies for Israel, Israel will also end its occupation similarly as every single major power ended theirs.The sooner the better for both Palestinians and Israelis likewise.

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