tv Worlds Apart RT September 20, 2018 4:30am-5:00am EDT
policy community. well no i mean first of all we have to distinguish between the work of an analyst. and an organization as a whole as the analyst on the field we have complete autonomy of judgment and of analysis so there's never any attempt to influence the analysis that we produce it's really a bottom up approach where we report from the field and therefore come up with what we think of policy lines in a given conflict and then boyd i mean our board but we are not only analysts there's also senior management and there's a board and there are also some russian intellectuals and former policy makers in order so i think we try to be represented now as you mentioned you've been following the libyan conflict for quite some time how would you describe its trajectory seventy years after the violent change of power in there i mean there's no doubt that in the seven years that have passed since the fall of gadhafi we have
cumulated other crises in libya and let's not forget that just three years ago there was another major crisis which was the political split of the country between two rival governments which has led to the creation of rival military coalition so the trajectory the overall trajectory is. a negative trajectory because where as in after twenty eleven we had optimism in a certain sense we had the hope that elections would be able to. pave the way of a new course and a new chapter in the country's future. what we're seeing today is increasing fragmentation increasing even implosions of the various coalitions and the deadlock that it was totally predictable even in two thousand and eleven wasn't it well if everything could have gone wrong in two thousand and eleven but everything perhaps could have gone right as well i think it's too easy to say that we had to. we
predicted this failure i think we can agree that the decision to intervene in libya was perhaps. too quickly taken but too quickly taken in the sense that. what would come after the war and what would come after the regime change would wasn't thought through sufficiently because the only the main focus after the war was primarily elections and political process but we also know that the libya crisis today as we see it at least as i see it is a multifaceted crisis because it's a political crisis it's a security crisis and it's an economic crisis so i think the main problem of the post twenty eleven transition was to put complete emphasis on the political process and not sufficient thought and strategy into the military dialogue or d.d.r. ceasar and completely forget the economic dimension of the crisis the international crisis group has a very prolific twitter account and you guys riposte
a lot of. articles about libya for example a few days ago you re posted an article by the a.p. and the a.p. describes the causes of the conflict in a very curious way let me quote it for you libya's lead into the cares after the two thousand and eleven uprising that overthrew a long ruling dictator moammar gadhafi and led to his death there's not a single mention of the nature intervention and i couldn't find it in none of the western articles on the subject what do you think explains that propensity to gloss all over the role of western powers in the disintegration of that country but before i answer your question i mean. libya today is in a profound crisis and i'm not necessarily i don't necessarily think that dwelling too much on the mistakes of twenty eleven or how the intervention is framed today whether you know we had that this was an overstepping or not. actually anyone says
anymore i should know that it was obvious there being a north east. by the time of the war and twenty eleven i wasn't working with crisis group and i wrote a very strong article. following the death of gadhafi saying that this this is the way you know the way the war was carried out places the seeds for misbehavior of libyan actors in the future because it completely. puts no boundaries on what is acceptable military confrontation but you know we're here today to to understand what the problems in libya. and that's why i think that this debate about what happened twenty eleven and the mistakes then are only ten jentzsch really constructive if we are to look at what the solutions for for the future and i cloud it with all due respect i think diagnosing a problem is important for finding a solution for it is that not the case i'm i'm totally for that but the problems of
today are only in part the result of what happened in twenty eleven i'm saying that there are other cumulative problems or evolutions of the problems that have to be diagnosed it's not all about the nato intervention in twenty eleven we are all living with we are living the consequences of it and we have missed it but. but that doesn't that in and of itself doesn't help us dissect what the reality is today how we got here today and what should be done tomorrow but i guess my point is that. correct me if i'm wrong i thing some of the decision making some of the promises behind the decision making in washington in two thousand and eleven may still be influencing the american policy in that country today even though there has been a change in the minute in the administration because. we all know that there are two centers of power in libya right now one is in tripoli another one in the east
of the country and the one in tripoli is have a least supported by the americans it's usually referred to as the un backed government but truly it is a u.s. supported government don't you think that there is a certain continuity to the bad decision making and i'm putting my own words here to the bad decision making in libya if we look at u.s. policy towards libya. perhaps the most important event determining u.s. policy is actually the killing of the u.s. . in benghazi in twenty twelve which was also. a consequence of the war but in that sense since then we've seen a retreat of u.s. direct involvement in libya and if at all we can say that today the u.s. is involved in libya more for counterterrorism operations and it also of course supports the u.n. efforts it supports a dialogue it was strongly behind the twenty fifteen process that led to the
government of national accord but we're not seeing today this same type of direct engagement by u.s. officials that we did for example in twenty fifteen when the u.s. had a special representative that was closely following all the developments don't you see that maybe because the trumpet ministration perceives that as the obama problem in the sense that it was a problem caused by the obama administration and it feels absolutely no responsibility or liability of dealing with the consequences of it i think it's a series of factors first of all. it is a complicated file and so for a new for an administration to get their head around what is what is the best course of action or not is it requires time also you have multiple interlocutors in libya so it's hard to to to get around with to understand who is that really offering you the best course of action for the future. and of and i think
the americans have been. you know focusing that bats strongly on the tripoli based authorities it's not like they have been shopping around for possible partners on the ground there very steady and i think the international crisis group have has actually criticized them for this focus on just one single power center am i wrong here well the u.s. took a very important move last december when they invited president suresh to washington this certainly reinforce russia's standing. and sort of signal to us u.s. backing but we criticize not only not only the u.s. we we at crisis group call on all international actors to open up to constituencies in the east and really encourage the formation of a government of national accord that would merge the two the two governments so i
think there is a general. there is a general international tended to see to work more with the with the g.n.a.t. government or national accord in tripoli because that is the internationally recognized one which was internationally recognized internationally recognized one which was internationally recognized recognized but at the same time everybody understands that their control of the country is. limited at best to the capital that they are not in control of the large so small. off of all the charioteer is there a lot of power brokers around there is also a very strong center of power in the east and. i wonder if you have any reasons or perhaps any ideas or why do you think the united states has been saw reluctant in pursuing or negotiating with the other power brokers in that country even did it
once a reconsideration in that country. well we've been advocating for and gauge went with eastern constituencies but it's not only the u.s. let me repeat it that is engaging mainly with the tripoli based government we're seeing a lot of western capitals engaging mainly with the western government and then reaching out to the east mainly through the person of have to write. this is something that is. it is puzzling in the sense that in the east we also have a parallel government that is not recognized we have parallel institutions that are not recognized yet the international community including western capitals have only engage with the military strongman of the east mainly to ask him to come on board and to recognize the d.n.a. what we're saying is that just paying lip service and you know holding on to this recognition of the g. and a without pushing for political negotiations without pushing for
a security strategy to bring the two together without pushing for or formulating even a condo or an economic strategy to bring together the country's finance is short sighted now claudia i have to push for a short break right now but we will be back in just a few moments stay tuned. ministries police forces and city administrations of many countries depend on one corporation that does my mike was hoping on the board doesn't come from the eyes of god i'm stumped and this is going to going to be with their family that got into the sea at the last also cliburn them proprietary software you don't know the source code isn't that is such a security risk when you have
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welcome back to worlds apart a bit cloudy is the need a senior analyst for libya at the international crisis group clouded just during the break re continued with the discussion and you told me you know in my. criticism of the position i may not be fully fair because as you said russia is not pushing for anything in that country and my perception was that russia is actually together with france together with edge of together with the united arab emirates is cultivating some ties with the east of the country particularly general hof tar is that not pushing for anything or pushing for something in a more subdued way no you know russia like other countries not only
france and the emirates but even western countries even the us i would say have cultivated contacts with the with general. this is in part strategic for counterterrorism issues. but it's also for all for political purposes now from that jumping to the conclusion that you know russia backs a solution that aims to push. or push an alternative solution to what the un led negotiations. is a wrong conclusion perhaps the. on file where where moscow's decision making and policy has been instrumental is the economic file because it's often forgotten but it's worth recalling here that bank notes printed in russia for the past year and a half or two years have been delivered to the central bank base in eastern libya
which is not the internationally recognized central bank and these billions of libyan deniers have been able to be put into the financial circuit in libya and have bankrolled the eastern of or it is including the eastern military but i wouldn't say that you know the un led policy at the moment or the support for siraj is something that is entirely in the hands of western countries to which there is a counter proposal there is no real strong russian diplomatic line now trying to push for an alternative now i want to ask you specifically about the economic affairs because from what i understand much of violence in libya has centered around the so-called or oil crescent a coastal area in is generally beer from where more than fifty percent of libyan crude oil is being exported here we have the map here on the screen and that area from what i understand has been taken over six times or contested six times over
the last four years there was a little standoff between the east and tripoli over who gets to exploit the oil is it all about money and access to resources right now because i mean initially at least it was supposedly about the democratic change. large components driving the violence and driving the conflict yes is money and is control of resources. libya is an oil producing country it depends entirely on its oil exports. ninety five percent oh it's magic is derived. from oil exports fighting over the oil crescent has become strategic because it's given actors bargaining power because of the government and unfortunately as you mentioned we've seen six bouts of fighting over the past year the violence in tripoli is also very closely related to the financial setup of the country because the accusations are that the armed
groups in tripoli have had preferential access to letters of credit government funding and so on and this has triggered a rivalry system so yes fighting in libya today is very much about access to money but it's not only about that of course overarching this there is still divergent views of what this libyan state should be now i heard you say that one of the reasons that inspired this latest outburst of violence was the stalling of the political process and the perception that you just laid out on the part of some militia groups that the authorities in tripoli are hoarding the national resources for for themselves and i think that looks like a classic catch twenty two you need a political transition to rein in the militia but you need to rein in the militia in order to have a political transition how would you get out of this vicious circle or what we've always advocated for it crisis group is an integrated strategy an integrated strategy that can deal with the political the security and the economic
for example and i'll give you an example to show you how how these three are interrelated the militias are strong in tripoli because they have preferential access to the letters of credit and therefore send billion millions of dollars abroad they're stronger in tripoli therefore it's more difficult to oust them they're stronger in tripoli for example and they have a good relation with the political power that exists in tripoli and therefore have less of it's an incentive to allow for political change to occur so you can see how the three issues. are interrelated so one of the problems of the past year has been to say this political setup is really not working we need to amend the libyan political agreement yet we found that there was huge resistance from keep political actors to to change this political setup in part because they can access the resources and buy off political loyalty so what we're saying is that you need to
have a political action plan that sort of lays out a road map for change the current you know the current. idea that is being floated around of course our elections as you know but it's a contested issue but it's not enough to say that we should invest on this political track we also need to have a security strategy to try to bring the country together to to have the military actors respect the rules of the game and we need an economic strategy to unify the economic and financial institutions can bring you back to what you say this sense of mistrust corruption that's going on in tripoli i know that the crisis group and its recent report called for addressing the mismanagement of oil revenues and a review or an audit of public spending and this is something that many actuaries in the east have been calling for all along do you think the authorities in tripoli could be trusted with doing something like that because arguably nothing was
stopping them from conducting a similar view before well no first of all the record the original request for this review did come from the authorities in tripoli. and. another crisis or it was more of a political concession was a not well i mean it's a way they understood that this was a way to concede something to the authorities in the east who were demanding a review of the finances in tripoli so you. it was in part a concession but in part the idea behind this idea of the review of the of the central bank is that in order to unify what have been defacto two parallel financial institutions for the past three years you need clarity on what both sides have done. and this was something that also authorities in tripoli have been
requesting the central bank in tripoli has been requesting and actually the central bank governor in the east has also been requesting so it was a fortunatus conjuncture that may made the three actors the two cent rival central bank governors and the international recognized government agree on this on this point and i think it's a review process a light review process that can set the stage of future unification of these well they all agree that it's necessary do you think the authorities in tripoli could be trusted with that process because after all if it's independent and transparent it may reveal some of the violations that they themselves have conducted show and i think at the moment the conversations that are being held is for an external. third party to conduct the review so it's not it's not it's not that would it in boorowa itself of the of of the tripoli based government an external review done by what we advocate is one of the four big
auditing companies. could could could be a positive the important thing is not to take decisions that will undermine what is this positive momentum in my fear is that. with the passing of the so-called economic reforms last week in libya we have somehow sort of possibly undermine this momentum for dialogue momentum for opening momentum for unification of the financial institutions can i ask you also. very briefly about the role of france in the lead in process because rich talked about the americans a little bit talked about the russians but the french have their own initiative of having nationwide elections by the end of the year is that realistic or even a reasonable scenario for that country because even if if you manage to stage
a hold those elections and that is a big if if if they take place arguably armed groups may not be too much open to honoring the results of those elections if they go against their interests what we've always said i mean always in these past months since the idea of elections has gained ground is that there has to be have to be the right political conditions meaning various libyan political actors have to commit to respecting the result of the election and that includes also military actors has to be a legal framework for it. and there has to be the security for it and i think on all three on all three accounts at the moment we're not seeing any of those conditions fulfilled but what is the logic behind calling for elections that you know france has called for but let's not forget this was the end of the u.n. of the u.s. led action plan so it was supposed to load and i mean everybody agrees that
eventually you know elections should take place but i mean the the french are putting a very tight deadline for that and if it simply doesn't work it's one thing but my concern is that it can actually do a lot of harm because not least to the prospect of democratic institutions in that country what is it is it ignorance is it vanity on the part of the french that makes them push for the solution that would. you know maybe it works for down but not so much for the call the larger the logic behind the french insistence on elections is that. libya now is governed by essentially illegitimate institutions so you know there's a state of illegitimacy of all the political institutions there's also a problem with the jna because the d.n.a. was brought about through international recognition rather than through a bottom up process in libya and there's a problem of governance ok that there is defacto a split country with very little governance structures in place and
a fourth problem is that the current political process does not is not inclusive meaning there are other actors in libya it's former regime activists that are not part of the posts there at settlement or the post nine eleven settlement and they have a right to come into the process through elections this is the rationale of those who say we need to have elections and so they say there is no other trump card there's no other ace that we can play except for elections because we've tried political negotiations it hasn't worked we've tried merging the two governments it hasn't worked the only last thing we can try is elections now my argument is that we don't have the conditions for elections and it's damaging for the country to promise elections as we saw in the in the paris summit in may because it creates expectations that can't get fulfilled and we don't have you know the conditions for these elections so with what we're trying to say is that maybe the time has come to
think of political negotiations again to improve or enlarge the governance structures and grab and most importantly rather than just focus on elections maybe it's worth working on unifying the institutions well do you really know where it's very fascinating. do you have this conversation with you but in order to keep it within time we have to end it here i really appreciate your being with us today and thank you for you thank you for having me it was a pleasure our viewers can keep this conversation going on our social media pages and i hope to see you again same place same time here on worlds apart.
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