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Richard Galustian

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UK Government Falling Apart, Changes Subject by Kicking Russia

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The British government has never been more unpopular amongst the British people. It’s being crushed by problems entirely of its own making and undone by its own neglect and incompetence over a disastrously handled Brexit, crippling austerity measures, a general public still reeling from the horror of the Grenfell fire, and an ever-failing National Health Service, which, given that it is the fourth largest employer in Europe, is a deeply worrying and resonant issue.


In light of this, the response by British diplomat Mr. Stuart Gill OBE in his OpED to the Sunday Times of Malta, where he asserts that, “Today, only Russia combines a record of state-sponsored assassinations with an avowed motive for targeting Sergei Skripal – and a history of producing ‘Novochok’ agents,” reads like another desperate repetition of the falsehoods and insults towards Russia issued by Theresa May’s lame duck Government. (Note that the inventor of Novochok moved to the US over twenty years ago.)

Mr. Gill’s remark is just one of numerous outrageous and childish insults currently bandied around. Outbursts from UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the inexperienced Minister of Defence, Gavin Williamson -- such as Russia should, “Shut up and go away” or “Putin is like Hitler” and “Russia probably did it” -- have been unprofessional, to say the very least, not to mention an offence to Russians of today and their relatives who died in the tens of millions fighting Hitler and the Nazis in WWII. 

But word on British streets suggests something different afoot, with many members of the public stating that they have serious reservations about the veracity of their government’s statements. Not just the public, but professionals and academics from all over the world have been clear that they think it’s nonsense. 
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Double Standards in Libya

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Two weeks ago Interpol issued a Red Notice for the Libyan National Army "Saiqa" Special Forces Major, Mahmoud Werfalli. 

According to the notice, Werfalli is "wanted by the Judicial Authorities of the International Criminal Court."

As to the Werfalla case, the Libya National Army (LNA) had twice announced Werfalla’s questioning and arrest, and his subsequent release twice, amid its own ongoing internal investigation.

But the Red Notice muddies a wider, more complicated picture.

First, what is the nature of Libya’s war? To understand go back to June 2014 when Libya held elections for a new parliament, the House of Representatives (HOR). When the results came in, the Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood and allied coalition parties who had controlled the previous parliament, called the General National Congress (GNA), realised they had lost big at the polling booth.
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Libya: Seven Years of Failed Western Diplomacy

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The approaching seventh anniversary of the "Libyan revolution," (where the celebratory date was last week arbitrarily moved to the 18th of February -- a bit like moving the 4th of July to the 8th) under what a majority of Libyans feel is an illegitimate, solely UN appointed government headed by a man not elected but chosen by foreigners, Prime Minister, Fayez Serraj, is a good time to reflect on the past seven years of abject failure of the West, UN, EU, and NATO in Libya.

At least the new French "boy" President had the honesty to declare recently that it was "a mistake" to remove Gaddafi from power. Most of the other countries involved who led the charge for regime change continue their delusional reflection of the good that has been achieved by their decision.

The UK in particular should be singled out for exceptional hypocrisy because of its insistence that the regime change in 2011 that followed the military action with NATO was a great success.

If polled, most Libyans will not be in any way celebrating the anniversary on now the 18th of February of their "revolution." Quite the opposite.
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The UN Losing Poker Hand in Libya

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In poker, smart players know that the best thing to do with a weak hand is dump it. 

Not so the United Nations. Libya is doubling down on backing the failing Government of National Accord (GNA), hoping that by reopening its UN base in the capital, the previously fortified "Palm City Complex," things will improve. 

They are also sending some sending in Gurkha "Security Guards," but nowhere near enough to actually make a difference against the Tripoli-based militias.  For two hundred years the Gurkhas have been the most feared force in the British Army. If anyone can destroy the Tripoli militias, they can, but what's the point? Why shore up an unelected five-man government?

The GNA was created by the UN two years ago to unite the country and end the civil war. Instead, the GNA’s cabinet is unable even to unite Tripoli, which is "controlled" by various militias. Hence the need for Gurkhas to stop militias overrunning the ostentatious UN compound, "Palm City," which is itself a provocation to the Libyan people.

The elected parliament in Tobruk, rival to the GNA, is increasingly calling the shots. Thanks to the increasingly popular Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Tobruk now controls the majority of the country and its oil infrastructure and ports. The idea that the GNA will ever rule over areas held by Tobruk is laughable. But, having created the GNA, the UN remains determined to back it. Last week Haftar banned GNA personnel from visiting the East -- so much for the alleged French July détente efforts.
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The International Criminal Court is the Antithesis of Justice

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If there was a prize for the world’s most ineffective institution, the International Criminal Court would win hands down.

Consider this: The court has been in operation for fifteen years, has spent over a billion Euros, and has convicted just four war criminals. Yes, that's correct. In a decade and a half, an institution proclaiming itself the world’s first permanent war crimes court has jailed just four war criminals.

In any other justice system that kind of abysmal conviction rate would get its chiefs sacked. But not the ICC. They continue to have a comfortable luxurious life in The Hague, ruling on the handful of cases that come their way, while the world’s wars rage fiercer than ever.​

One reason the ICC is such a disaster is the paradox at the heart of its existence.

The ICC is not part of the United Nations. Instead, it has authority over the 124 states that have joined it. But most states likely to commit war crimes don’t join the ICC. The result?  A court full of states that don’t commit war crimes.

The big three powers, the United States, China, and Russia have have all refused to join, concerned about accountability. The US State Department puts it best, saying there are "insufficient checks and balances on the authority of the ICC prosecutor and judges," and the court has "insufficient protection against politicized prosecutions or other abuses.”
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The ICC Should be on Trial not Saif Gaddafi

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The International Criminal Court has demanded that Libya hand over former leader Muamar Gaddafi's son Saif after his release by an armed militia last week, but it is the Court, not Saif, which should be on trial.

One word tells you all you need to know about the ICC, and that’s ISIS: These terrorists have perpetuated the most appalling crimes in Libya, not least the ritual execution -- filmed and uploaded onto its website -- of Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beachfront two years ago. The result? No indictments from the ICC.

The ICC is a kangaroo court if ever there was one, and its pursuit of Saif smacks of politics. Consider that for years he pushed for reforms in Libya, and consider also that he commanded no military nor police units. Indeed he was not in a position to commit war crimes. And yet the Hague wants him for crimes against humanity.

As to the Saif prosecution, where is the evidence? Leaked emails show his role in trying to hold back the fighting in the 2011 revolution.
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Can Gaddafi Save Libya?

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Politically dramatic news emerged on Saturday 10th June when it was announced that Saif Al-Islam, was freed from Zintan and had arrived in eastern Libya, to Al-Bayda. This is a very significant turn of events on the ground politically in so many different ways. One of these is described below.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) liberation of the Jufra AFB is also connected to Libyan "militias'" in Tripoli releasing last week some Gaddafi era VIPs including Saif's brother, Saadi and former prime minister Baghdadi Mahmudi from prison. 

These developments are part of a new dynamic that seems to be entering the Libyan stage. The idea is to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Tribunal, similar to Mandela's South Africa’s, in order to bring unity to the country. 

Specific Libyan tribes are starting to back Saif Gaddafi and with the backing of Libya's House of Representatives and LNA head Khalifa Haftar, a new and hopefully peaceful attempt at unification may appear when the fighting stops and Saif can play a most important and historic part in this.
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Is Libya War Coming to an End?

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On the 3rd of June, Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) gained its most significant strategic military victory in the southern part of the country which now means that almost two thirds of Libya is under Haftar's LNA control.

This may prove to be a game changer in the six year struggle for power after the US and UK-led attack on Libya in 2011.

The LNA entered the southern town of Waddan in Jufra and overran the area. The nearby town of Sukna was taken by the LNA. Haftar’s forces then captured the strategically important Jufra AFB which will give it air striking coverage of much of western Libya and make a direct route, logistically and tactically, without significant obstacles, for them by road from East to West Libya when the route is reinforced by troops.

This victory could prove to be the most decisive one for the LNA since its creation by Haftar.
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