Karim Mezran

  • What are the Implications of Haftar’s Offensive?

    The brutal attack unleashed by General Khalifa Haftar’s militia, the Libyan National Army, against the city of Tripoli is indeed a game-changer. After the attack on April 4th everything changed in Libya, and not only in the political realm. The support that Haftar enjoyed within parts of the population of Tripoli, who preferred a strong-man rule over the incompetence and perceived corruption of the UN-sponsored Government of National Accord, melted away within hours of the attack. Many young inhabitants of the city flocked to the headquarters of the various militias to enroll in the fight against the advancing troops of the General.


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  • The Growing Russian Challenge and What Should Be Done About It

    All around the world, Russia is increasingly asserting itself, propping up dictators, and, in some instances, posing a direct challenge to US interests. Russian President Vladimir Putin held his first-ever meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vladivostok on April 25. Kim’s visit to Russia, an old ally, came as diplomacy with US President Donald J. Trump has faltered.

    Trump and Putin spoke on the phone for over an hour on May 3. Venezuela and North Korea were among the topics the two leaders discussed.


    We take a look at some areas of confrontation, what is driving Russian interests, and how the United States is responding to this challenge.


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  • Mezran Joins NPR to Discuss US Policy in Libya


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  • Mezran Qouted in VOA on Haftar's Assault on Tripoli


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  • Trump Wades into Libyan Crisis, And Why That’s Not Good News

    US President Donald J. Trump’s apparent support for Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army, has muddied the waters in a dangerous part of the world. But does it signal a shift in the US position?


    Karim Mezran, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, said: “The United States, so far, along with Italy and Britain, has had a very straightforward position: there is no military solution possible in Libya, only a UN-backed negotiations process.”


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  • Mezran Quoted in The Times on the Dangers to Europe from General Haftar's Offensive


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  • Mezran Quoted in World News Monitor on the Current Situation in Libya


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  • Libya: Back on The Brink of a Civil War?

    Libya, once again, is on the boil.


    Khalifa Haftar, who leads the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) in the eastern part of the country, set off alarm bells this week when he ordered his troops to march on Tripoli where an internationally recognized government is seated. Haftar refuses to accept the legitimacy of this government, which is led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. And therein lies the problem.

    Haftar’s forces control large swathes of territory in the eastern and southern parts of Libya and have steadily gained ground.

    In response to Haftar’s orders to the LNA, militias in the western cities of Libya have rallied to defend Tripoli.


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  • Algeria Protests: More of the Same or Real Change?

    The continued protests and potential leadership change in Algeria do not constitute a “big popular revolt against the regime,” according to Karim Mezran, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, but rather “a de facto demand of change of personnel.” Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced on March 11 that he would not be running for a fifth term as president, but also said that elections slated for April will be delayed.

    Bouteflika has ruled the North African country since 1999 and the eighty-two-year-old has had few public appearances since a suffering a stroke in 2013. Frustrations with Bouteflika’s rule and economic conditions have spurred mass demonstrations in Algeria since the end of February.


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  • Algerian Demonstrations: What They Mean for the Future of the Elite and the Country

    Read in Arabic here. Algerian elites are missing a Leopardian moment. Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa’s masterpiece, the Leopard—which has become a staple of political science—, expresses the intrinsic idea that elites must change in order to remain elites. In the book, the old baron reprimanded his nephew because he joined forces that landed under the revolutionary general Garibaldi to overthrow exactly the system that constituted the elite to which they belonged. The answer of the nephew was “if we want that everything remains as is, it is necessary that everything changes.” He had to join the revolutionary forces in a commanding position in order to effect change in the system, but preserve their family’s power in the new elite system.


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