Categories
Diplomacy Politics CSS Blog

The Biden Administration’s Impulse to US-EU Cooperation on Libya

Image courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Brigitte Brantley/DVIDS.

The US has maintained a relatively passive approach to Libya under President Donald Trump, whose administration largely left the Libyan dossier to Egypt, several Arab Gulf states, Turkey, Europeans, and Russia. In 2021, however, America’s new leadership will probably try to assert US influence in the war-torn country more actively.[i] President-elect Joe Biden and those in his inner circle have vowed to push back against Moscow in various ways, which means Libya could be a growing point of contention between the incoming US administration and Russia. In any event, the Libyan crisis offers Biden an opportunity to demonstrate to Washington’s traditional Western allies that his administration is determined to reassert US leadership in the world and stand against President Vladimir Putin’s designs for Libya and, by extension, in the Middle East and Africa too. It is unclear, however, whether Biden’s plans for countering Moscow’s hand in Libya will be more rhetorical or strategic, and how far his administration would be ready to escalate US-Russia tensions in relation to Libya.

Categories
International Relations Diplomacy Politics

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s Evolving Alliance

The Saudi-financed Shah Faisal Masjid Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan. Image: Imrankw/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by The National Interest on November 19, 2015.

In early November, Pakistan’s chief of army staff, General Raheel Sharif, made an important visit to Saudi Arabia. The general met with King Salman and other top officials in Riyadh, where he stressed Islamabad’s commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of Mecca and Medina, as well as Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity. The Saudi officials, in turn, called for peace and stability in Pakistan and praised the Pakistani military’s efforts to fight terrorism in the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb campaign. Dignitaries from both sides issued a joint statement emphasizing their “responsibility towards Muslim ummah” and mutual fears stemming from the plethora of ongoing regional security crises.

Categories
International Relations Terrorism

Hamas and Hezbollah Agree to Disagree on Syria

Graffiti displaying the word “Hamas”. Photo: Soman/Wikimedia Commons.

Editor’s Note: This article is included in our ‘Conflict Hotspots 2014’ dossier which can be accessed here .

Born of a common struggle against Israel and nourished by common benefactors in Syria and Iran, Sunni Hamas and Shiite Hezbollah have long been natural allies despite their sectarian differences. Ever since the early 1990s, when Israel exiled Hamas’ leadership to Lebanon, the two groups have cultivated an alliance that has shaped the Middle East’s balance of power for decades.

But the crisis in Syria has ruptured the old “axis of resistance,” with regional forces giving the two organizations opposing stakes in the conflict and bringing unprecedented tension to their relationship. While Hezbollah fighters have fought and died for Bashar al-Assad in some of the civil war’s fiercest battles, Hamas has thrown in its lot with the rebels and retreated deeper into the embrace of Sunni Islamist powers in the region.