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Israel an Enemy of Freedom-Loving People Everywhere

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Israel is fighting constantly not only against Gazans, and against Palestinians generally; it is fighting constantly against freedom-loving people everywhere, who oppose dictatorship of any type, and in any country, on principle, irrespective of nationality.

Here’s an example showing how much of a dictatorship and enemy of democrats it is:

Anna Dressler was a ship-hand on a flotilla of two small boats launched from Palermo Italy that were manned by 34 people from 12 countries in international waters and that were seized — stolen — by Israel’s military, on 29 July 2018. They became seized because these boats were carrying medical supplies in violation of Israel’s internationally illegal blockade against food and medicine reaching the residents of Gaza. She was on the boat “Al-Awda,” which was 42 miles from Gaza at the time of seizure-theft. Israel’s troops seizing it were masked, and were armed with machine-guns.

The first video of this incident was released on August 20th.

A “Legal and Welfare Update and Appeal” dated August 14th by the Freedom Flotilla, stated that,

The two boats ‘Al Awda’ (The Return) and ‘Freedom’ were hijacked by the Israeli Occupation Forces in international waters 42 and 49 nautical miles respectively off the coast of Gaza. During their unlawful detention, crew, participants and journalists were subjected to a range of physical and emotional violence.

The captain of Al Awda was threatened with execution, 4 people were tasered, 3 people had ribs broken by the Israeli military and one person had his foot broken.

They were all taken against their will to Israel, unlawfully imprisoned and ultimately deported. The Israeli authorities have stolen the boats and the 13,000 Euros worth of medical supplies that we were carrying as gifts, as well as many of the participants’ personal belongings (including clothes, a Bible, credit cards, IDs and mobile phones). Incredibly, they have begun to take legal action to attempt to confiscate the boats.

These people had been in constant communication with their colleagues on land; so, if they’d been killed by the Israelis, it would immediately have become an international incident, enraging 12 countries. They had to be released, and thus they were. These people weren’t Palestinians; they had rights that were cared-about in other countries. Though a gangster-state, Israel recognized that these people couldn’t be simply discarded, like trash — as Palestinians are treated by Israel.

So, here’s how the journey got to that stage:

On June 27th, Ms. Dressler, writing in the third person as “she,” had posted, as “Deckhand on Freedom”, her personal background, and presented an explanation, written as impersonally as she could, as to why she was participating in this flotilla (which, though she didn’t note the fact, was manned entirely by volunteers who knew that they were placing themselves in severe jeopardy for doing this):

Anna was born in Germany and is now living in Sweden, but mostly she is out on travels and ‘projects’ around the globe. She is an activist and problem solver – a person with a diversity of professions. In 2012, she was the Project Leader for an anti-money laundering campaign. In 2015-2016, she participated in a private project working with refugees near the Macedonian border and along the Balkan route. She enjoys her freedom wholeheartedly and wants others to have the same opportunity.

On July 18th was posted, by the Freedom Flotilla, the following “Leaving For Gaza – Media Release”:

Four boats from the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ Freedom Flotilla Coalition are scheduled to leave Palermo, Sicily, to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, and to assert the Palestinian people’s right to freedom of movement and their right to a just future. …

As always, our boats carry representatives from across the world and messages of love and solidarity for those living under the inhumane, decade-old blockade – the collective punishment on the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza. Given the dire situation in Palestinian hospitals, we are also transporting some urgently needed medical supplies (#Gauze4Gaza).

This need is even more critical given the thousands of people severely wounded by Israeli snipers and tear gas in the past few months during the Great March of Return protests (see 10 July UN report on serious injuries). …

It is also encouraging to see the local welcomes we are being given, including by the Mayor of Palermo who rightly connects our campaign with the Caravana Abriendo Fronteras, who have just arrived from Spain, and similar demands for the opening of borders and freedom of movement from the City Council of Cádiz (Spain) and Naples (Italy).

Spokesperson for the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, James Godfrey said: “This Flotilla is necessary to highlight the international community’s failure and its ongoing complicity in the illegal blockade of over two million Palestinians in Gaza, more than half of them children.”

On July 23rd, was posted “Freedom Flotilla Coalition sets sail for a just future for Palestine”, and it reported:

Freedom Flotilla leaves Palermo to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Three boats are sailing with boxes of medical supplies: Al Awda (The Return), a large converted fishing vessel; Freedom to Gaza, a large sailing vessel; and Falestine, a smaller sailing vessel. A fourth boat, Mairead, will not sail at this time. Another Sicilian port Messina, opened its open arms as usual with a series of wonderful community events, and we are grateful for their solidarity.

All three boats making their way to Gaza will be donated to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, that includes a fisherman’s union that will use the boats to fish in order to feed their families.

Spokesperson for the Swedish Ship to Gaza campaign, Jeannette Escanilla, said the boats would provide important economic and training opportunities for Palestinians trapped in Gaza.

“The illegal Israeli naval blockade has devastated the Palestinian economy, and in particular has hurt the fishing industry in Gaza so these boats will provide important economic opportunities for Palestinians in Gaza, and also training opportunities in sailing, to enable them to gain better qualifications. Currently, the Israeli Occupying Force prevent Palestinians in Gaza from sailing more than a few nautical miles from shore, and routinely attack fishing and other boats from Gaza.”

On July 26th, Dressler posted “ON THE WAY TO GAZA WITH FREEDOM – ANNA DRESSLER (UNITED KINGDOM/GERMANY)”. She said:

Gaza is a zone in the world where human rights seem to be forgotten. I believe that every person can change the world, on their own way, wherever they are and in which way they can. Let’s start here, with a blockade that should never have existed, and continues, along with everyone else, man-made, disasters.

On August 4th was posted to youtube “ANNA DRESSLER – SOS”, in which, six days after the seizure, theft, and assault, by Israel, against these people and their vessels, Anna, speaking in Swedish, publicly demanded that her Government in Stockholm enforce her rights as a Swede, against the Government of Israel, and that the ships and their supplies be at least returned to their owners.

On that same date, August 4th, the Freedom Flotilla itself headlined “SOS – Just Future for Palestine”, and officially notified the foreign ministers of the 12 involved countries whose nationals’ rights had been violated by Israel in this incident. These 12 countries were: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UK, and U.S.

The following day, August 5th, Jeannette Escanilla wrote, for the Steering Committee, Ship to Gaza Sweden (her official title being “Spokesperson for the Swedish Ship to Gaza campaign”), addressed as follows:

To the Foreign Minister of Sweden; Margot Wallström

To the Prime Minister of Sweden; Stefan Löfven

Ship to Gaza’s sailing ketch “Freedom for Gaza” was approaching the coast of Gaza when it was boarded by Israeli militants on Friday 3 August on international waters, a gross violation of international law. The last reported position of the vessel before boarding was about 40 nautical miles from coast of Gaza at 20:06 (CET).

The Swedish flagged ship and its cargo of medical supplies were seized by Israel and the 12 persons onboard were abducted and led to Israel, a country they did not intend to visit.

Ship to Gaza demands that the captured crew, the ship and its and cargo will be returned to the position where they were boarded and allowed to continue their voyage on international and Palestinian waters without being interupted, in accordance with international law. In this way we can complete the purpose of the journey, which is to hand over “Freedom” as a gift to Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)*, as well as 18 boxes of medical supplies, gauzes and sutures, to the organization My Care in Gaza. The lack of healthcare in the Gaza strip is appalling.

Our long term demands are also that the eleven-year illegal and destructive blockade of the Gaza Strip is finally lifted. The Swedish government has repeatedly backed the requirement of a lifting of the blockade. We now expect that the same government, whose flag is worn by the attacked ship, will also support our specific requirements regarding crew, cargo and ships. Ship to Gaza calls on Israel and Egypt to now meet the demands of large parts of the world community, that the illegitimate and destructive blockade of the Gaza Strip will be lifted after eleven years of isolation and aggression.

There is an obvious discrepancy between that “Friday 3 August” date, which she wrote on 5 August, versus the subsequent claim in the August 20th released video, of “29 July 2018,” as being the date on which their boats were stolen. An explanation is thus needed from them, regarding that discrepancy. However, in any case, the Swedish Ship to Gaza has made public that,

Ship to Gaza has now received an answer to the open letter that we, through our chairman Jeanette Escanilla, have sent to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström on August 5th.

The Minister writes:

Thank you for your letter dated 5th of August 2018. 

The situation in Gaza is very critical. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the situation as a humanitarian crisis. Furthermore, as you wrote, the lack of medical supplies is disastrous, not least since so many people have been injured as Israeli military has been deployed in connection with demonstrations along Gaza’s border in recent months.

Sweden upholds the principle of freedom of the seas and freedom of navigation. The government has been in contact with the Israeli authorities regarding Ship to Gaza, and has expressed that the actions of the Israeli authorities in relation to the Swedish-flagged vessel Freedom and the persons onboard constitutes a breach of international law. The government has also demanded that the ship, its cargo and the persons who were aboard be released. The Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv is monitoring the imprisoned Swedish citizens’ consular rights and visited all of them on Sunday, August the 5th. 

The Swedish government will continue to work towards an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and towards a fair and sustainable two-state solution in which the two states can co-exist, peacefully, side by side. Ending the isolation of Gaza and providing humanitarian aid to its people are two critical, urgent steps towards that end. 

(Translated by Ship to Gaza)

The Swedish Ship to Gaza commented on that statement: Ship to Gaza wishes to emphasize that the wording … in principle corresponds with our own demands that the crew, cargo and boat should be returned to the place where they were boarded and be allowed to continue their journey to Gaza. We are now being notified that the activists and crew is being deported from Israel. This is not in agreement with our demands or with the requests of the Swedish government.

We also want to know what the Swedish government is doing now to enforce the demands regarding our ships, cargo and crew, but even more importantly, also with regards to the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On August 8th, Ms. Dressler posted: Anna arrived last night at Berlin airport. Read her preliminary report of the cruel and inhumane treatment that the Israeli authorities meted out to her despite having a German passport. “…Can you then imagine how few rights Palestinians have…”

Anna’s resolve is strengthened and she declared that “We will continue to fight for freedom…”.

Please continue to demand the release of all of the Political Prisoners.

On August 13th, the Freedom Flotilla posted “SECOND MEDIA RELEASE ON MEDICAL SUPPLIES NOT REACHING GAZA” and listed, and linked, to the international laws that Israel had violated in this incident.

On August 17th, UK’s Stuart Littlewood headlined at American Herald Tribune “The UK’s Prime Minister-in-Waiting Must Zap the Circling Sharks”, and he reported on the extreme pressure that the progressive UK politician Jeremy Corbyn was facing for his not clearly taking a stand favoring Israel against the Palestinians, and he reported Corbyn’s being accused by Israel of “anti-Semitism” for that (as if it were wrong to recognize that Israel is an enemy nation; as if to recognize this is somehow against Jews or Judaism, instead of being against racist fascism in any nation, and against apartheid in any nation, and against theocracy in any nation, and against the imposition by any nation, of dictatorship — all of which presumptions are clearly lies). Littlewood noted that,

While the mainstream, including the BBC, have been sticking the knife into Corbyn, none of them (as far as I’m aware) reported a much more serious outrage – the hijacking by Israeli Occupation Forces of two vessels heading for Gaza and the violent assault, abduction and imprisonment of the 34 people from 12 countries who were on board – one of them a British consultant from the famous ‘Barts’ Hospital in London.

That is basically where things currently stand on this matter. The other governments involved (among the 12, besides Sweden), have been silent. Only Dressler’s nation has not. But no indication exists that even Sweden is following up with any demand against Israel. The underlying assumption seems to be that governments in The West (including the Sauds and their friends — all also “Western”) will continue simply to side with Israel against the Palestinians, even when their own citizens’ rights have been violated by Israel’s illegal imposition and enforcement of this illegal blockade.

Among the Governments that refused to enforce its citizens’ rights in this matter is the United States. Refusing to enforce its citizens rights that have been illegally violated by Israel, is routine for the U.S. Government to do. Ever since 1967, Israel has been supported by America, though America’s enemy, at war against Americans, and Israel has stayed that way, but the U.S. Government itself (and its news-media) has been keeping that fact, of Israel’s war against Americans — Israel’s being an enemy — a bipartisan secret from the American people (who are required, furthermore, by their Government, to pay to Israel’s Government, $3.8 billion per year, so that it can buy U.S.-made weapons from Lockheed Martin and other politically top-connected American companies — Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” — which are the intended beneficiaries of this coercion, by America’s Government, against America’s citizens). It’s the proven and incontrovertible reality, of the U.S. Government’s tyranny, against its own people.

Without such lies as that Israel is America’s friend instead of America’s enemy, and without such hiding of crucial facts from the public (for ‘national-security’ purposes, of course — not for billionaires’ profits), none of this could happen, and could be even credibly called ‘democracy’. This is actually a ‘democracy’ based on lies. But is that really possible, or is it instead just another lie, one to cover-up all the others? If that’s the case, then the problem is, obviously, much deeper than merely Israel versus the Palestinians, and nothing that the mainstream press publishes in The West regarding international relations can be trusted, at all, for its keeping this secret throughout the decades.

Certainly, what you are now reading, on this site, isn’t mainstream in The West. So, you are here reading Western samizdat, forbidden truths — truths that are forbidden to be published in The West. Nonetheless, all of this article is documented to be true. Just click onto a link anywhere that you doubt it. You will find that it’s all true — not just “maybe true” (like mainstream ‘news’ often is) — it is all unequivocally true. And, yet, what politician can say it? What would they be implying if they did say it? Can they say it? Apparently not.

What you’ve read here is, therefore, exposing just the visible tip, of an iceberg, of lies.

Author’s note: this article first published at The Saker

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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After 10 years of war in Syria, siege tactics still threaten civilians

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The future for Syria’s people is “increasingly bleak”, UN-appointed rights experts said on Tuesday, highlighting escalating conflict in several areas of the war-ravaged country, a return to siege tactics and popular demonstrations linked to the plummeting economy.

According to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the country is not safe for refugees to return to, after a decade of war.

The panel’s findings come amid an uptick in violence in the northwest, northeast and south of the country, where the Commissioners highlighted the chilling return of besiegement against civilian populations by pro-Government forces.

“The parties to the conflict continue to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity and infringing the basic human rights of Syrians,” said head of the Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro. “The war on Syrian civilians continues, and it is difficult for them to find security or safe haven.”

Scandal of Al Hol’s children

Professor Pinheiro also described as “scandalous” the fact that many thousands of non-Syrian children born to former IS fighters continue to be held in detention in dreadful conditions in Syria’s north-east.

“Most foreign children remain deprived of their liberty since their home countries refuse to repatriate them,” he told journalists, on the sidelines of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“We have the most ratified convention in the world, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is completely forgotten. And democratic States that are prepared to abide to this Convention they neglect the obligations of this Convention in what is happening in Al Hol and other camps and prison places.”

Some 40,000 children continue to be held in camps including Al Hol. Nearly half are Iraqi and 7,800 are from nearly 60 other countries who refuse to repatriate them, according to the Commission of Inquiry report, which covers the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. 

Blockades and bombardment

The rights experts also condemned a siege by pro-Government forces on the town of Dar’a Al-Balad, the birthplace of the uprising in 2011, along with “siege-like tactics” in Quineitra and Rif Damascus governorates.

“Three years after the suffering that the Commission documented in eastern Ghouta, another tragedy has been unfolding before our eyes in Dar’a Al-Balad,” said Commissioner Hanny Megally, in reference to the siege of eastern Ghouta which lasted more than five years – and which the commissioners previously labelled “barbaric and medieval”.

In addition to the dangers posed by heavy artillery shelling, tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside Dar’a Al-Balad had insufficient access to food and health care, forcing many to flee, the Commissioners said.

Living in fear

In the Afrin and Ra’s al-Ayn regions of Aleppo, the Commissioners described how people lived in fear of car bombs “that are frequently detonated in crowded civilian areas”, targeting markets and busy streets.

At least 243 women, men and children have been killed in seven such attacks over the 12-month reporting period, they said, adding that the real toll is likely to be considerably higher.

Indiscriminate shelling has also continued, including on 12 June when munitions struck multiple locations in Afrin city in northwest Syria, killing and injuring many and destroying parts of al-Shifa hospital.

Insecurity in areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria has also deteriorated, according to the Commission of Inquiry, with increased attacks by extremist “remnants” and conflict with Turkish forces.

Division remains

The Commissioners noted that although President Assad controls about 70 per cent of the territory and 40 per cent of the pre-war population, there seems to be “no moves to unite the country or seek reconciliation. On the contrary.”

Despite a welcome drop in the level of violence compared with previous years, the Commission of Inquiry highlighted the dangers that continue to be faced by non-combatants

The senior rights experts also highlighted mounting discontent and protests amongst the population, impacted by fuel shortages and food insecurity, which has increased by 50 per cent in a year, to 12.4 million, citing UNFPA data.

“The hardships that Syrians are facing, particularly in the areas where the Government is back in control, are beginning to show in terms of protests by Syrians who have been loyal to the State,” said Mr. Megally. They are now saying, ‘Ten years of conflict, our lives are getting worse rather than getting better, when do we see an end to this?’”

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IAEA Director General reaches agreement in Tehran, as Biden’s clock is ticking

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IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi at a press conference. Photo: IAEA/Dean Calmaa

A meeting to resolve interim monitoring issues was held in Tehran on 12 September between the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi. Grossi was on a visit to Tehran to fix roadblocks on the stalled monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program, which is ever more challenging in a context where there is no diplomatic agreement to revive or supersede the JCPOA. Grossi said in a press conference on 12 September that the IAEA had “a major communication breakdown” with Iran. But what exactly does that mean?


The IAEA monitoring equipment had gone three months without being serviced and Grossi said he needed “immediate rectification” of the issues. He was able to get the Iranian side to come to an agreement. The news from Sunday was that the IAEA’s inspectors are now permitted to service the identified equipment and replace their storage media which will be kept under the joint IAEA and AEOI seals in Iran. The way and the timing are now agreed by the two sides. The IAEA Director General had to push on the terms of the agreement reached in February 2020.

Grossi underlined on Sunday that the new agreement can’t be a permanent solution. Data from the nuclear facilities is just being stored according to what commentators call “the continuity of knowledge” principle, to avoid gaps over extended time periods but the data is not available to inspectors.

When it’s all said and done, basically, it all comes down to the diplomatic level. The American withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear agreement in 2018 keeps undermining the Iran nuclear inspections on the technical level. All the inspection activities have been stalled as a result of the broken deal. The IAEA’s strategy in the interim is that at least the information would be stored and not permanently lost.

Everyone is waiting for the JCPOA to be restored or superseded. As Vali Nasr argued in the New York Times back in April this year, the clock is ticking for Biden on Iran. Iran diplomacy doesn’t seem to be on Biden’s agenda at all at the moment. That makes the nuclear inspectors’ job practically impossible.  Journalists pointed out on Sunday that the Director General’s visit found one broken and one damaged camera in one of the facilities. Grossi assured it has been agreed with Iran that the cameras will be replaced within a few days. The IAEA report notes that it was not Iran but Israel that broke the IAEA cameras in a June drone attack carried out by Israel. Presumably, Israel aimed to show Iran is not complying by committing the violations themselves.

Grossi’s visit was a part of the overall IAEA strategy which goes along the lines of allowing time for diplomacy, without losing the data in the meantime. He added that he thinks he managed to rectify the most urgent problem, which is the imminent loss of data.

The Reuters’s title of the meeting is that the agreement reached on Sunday gives “hope” to a renewed Iran deal with the US, after Iran elected a hardliner president, Ebrahim Raisi, in August this year, but that’s a misleading title. This is not the bit that we were unsure about. The question was never on the Iranian side. No one really expected that the new Iranian president would not engage with the IAEA at all. Earlier in November 2019, an IAEA inspector was not allowed on a nuclear cite and had her accreditation canceled. In November 2020, Iranian lawmakers passed a law that mandated the halt of the IAEA inspections and not to allow inspectors on the nuclear sites, as well as the resuming of uranium enrichment, unless the US sanctions are lifted. In January 2021, there were threats by Iranian lawmakers that IAEA inspectors would be expelled. Yet, the new Iranian President still plays ball with the IAEA.

It is naïve to think that Iran should be expected to act as if there was still a deal but then again, US foreign policy is full of naïve episodes. “The current U.S. administration is no different from the previous one because it demands in different words what Trump demanded from Iran in the nuclear area,” Khamenei was quoted to have said in his first meeting with President Raisi’s cabinet.

“We don’t need a deal – you will just act as if there was still a deal and I will act as if I’m not bound by a deal” seems to be the US government’s line put bluntly. But the ball is actually in Biden’s court. The IAEA Director General is simply buying time, a few months at a time, but ultimately the United States will have to start moving. In a diplomatic tone, Grossi referred on Sunday to many commentators and journalists who are urging that it is time.

I just don’t see any signs on Biden’s side to move in the right direction. The current nuclear talks we have that started in June in Vienna are not even direct diplomatic talks and were put on hold until the outcome of Iran’s presidential elections were clear. US hesitance is making Grossi’s job impossible. The narrative pushed by so many in the US foreign policy space, namely that the big bad wolf Trump is still the one to blame, is slowly fading and reaching its expiry date, as Biden approaches the one-year mark of his presidency.

Let’s not forget that the US is the one that left and naturally is the one that has to restart the process, making the parties come back to the table. The US broke the deal. Biden can’t possibly be expecting that the other side will be the one extending its hand to beg for forgiveness. The US government is the one that ruined the multi-year, multilateral efforts of the complex dance that was required to get to something like the JCPOA – a deal that Republicans thought was never going to be possible because “you can’t negotiate with Iran”. You can, but you need skilled diplomats for that. Blinken is no Kerry. Judging from Blinken’s diplomacy moves with China and on other issues, I just don’t think that the Biden Administration has what it takes to get diplomacy back on track. If he follows the same line with Iran we won’t see another JCPOA in Biden’s term. Several weeks ago, Biden said that there are other options with Iran if diplomacy fails, in a White House meeting with Israel’s new prime minister Bennett. I don’t think that anyone in the foreign policy space buys that Biden would launch a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. But I don’t think that team Biden can get to a diplomatic agreement either. Biden and Blinken are still stuck in the 2000, the time when others would approach the US no matter what, irrespective of whose fault it was. “You will do as I say” has never worked in the history of US foreign policy. That’s just not going to happen with Iran and the JCPOA. To expect otherwise is unreasonable. The whole “Trump did it” line is slowly and surely reaching its expiry date – as with anything else on the domestic and foreign policy plane. Biden needs to get his act together. The clock is ticking.

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Elections represent an opportunity for stability and unity in Libya

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With just over 100 days until landmark elections in Libya, political leaders must join forces to ensure the vote is free, fair and inclusive, the UN envoy for the country told the Security Council on Friday. 

Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) briefed ambassadors on developments ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections due to take place on 24 December. 

They were agreed under a political roadmap stemming from the historic October 2020 ceasefire between Libya’s rival authorities, and the establishment of a Government of National Unity (GNU) earlier this year. 

At the crossroads 

“Libya is at a crossroads where positive or negative outcomes are equally possible,” said Mr. Kubiš.  “With the elections there is an opportunity for Libya to move gradually and convincingly into a more stable, representative and civilian track.” 

He reported that the House of Representatives has adopted a law on the presidential election, while legislation for the parliamentary election is being finalized and could be considered and approved within the coming weeks.  

Although the High National Election Commission (HNEC) has received the presidential election law, another body, the High State Council, complained that it had been adopted without consultation. 

Foreign fighter threat 

The HNEC chairman has said it will be ready to start implementation once the laws are received, and will do everything possible to meet the 24 December deadline. 

“Thus, it is for the High National Election Commission to establish a clear electoral calendar to lead the country to the elections, with support of the international community, for the efforts of the Government of National Unity, all the respective authorities and institutions to deliver as free and fair, inclusive and credible elections as possible under the demanding and challenging conditions and constraints,” said Mr. Kubiš.  

“The international community could help create more conducive conditions for this by facilitating the start of a gradual withdrawal of foreign elements from Libya without delay.” 

Young voters eager 

The UN envoy also called for countries and regional organizations to provide electoral observers to help ensure the integrity and credibility of the process, as well as acceptance of the results. 

He also welcomed progress so far, including in updating the voter registry and the launch of a register for eligible voters outside the country. 

So far, more than 2.8 million Libyans have registered to vote, 40 per cent of whom are women.  Additionally, more than half a million new voters will also be casting their ballots. 

“Most of the newly registered are under 30, a clear testament to the young generation’s eagerness to take part in determining the fate of their country through a democratic process. The Libyan authorities and leaders must not let them down,” said Mr. Kubiš. 

He stressed that the international community also has a responsibility to support the positive developments in Libya, and to stand firm against attempts at derailment.  

“Not holding the elections could gravely deteriorate the situation in the country, could lead to division and conflict,” he warned.  “I urge the Libyan actors to join forces and ensure inclusive, free, fair parliamentary and presidential elections, which are to be seen as the essential step in further stabilizing and uniting Libya.”

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