Mauritania hands over Libya’s former spy chief

Mauritania has extradited Libya’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi. Senussi was arrested for illegal entry into Mauritania in March where he sought refuge five months after the capture and killing of former President Muammar al-Qaddafi. He has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity carried out against the opposition ...

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Head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, 62, is pictured in Tripoli on June 22, 2011. Judges at the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and Senussi for war crimes and crimes against humanity on June 27, 2011. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

Mauritania has extradited Libya's former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi. Senussi was arrested for illegal entry into Mauritania in March where he sought refuge five months after the capture and killing of former President Muammar al-Qaddafi. He has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity carried out against the opposition in Benghazi during Libya's 2011 uprising. He is also suspected for involvement in the 1996 massacre of over 1,200 prisoners by the Qaddafi regime at Abu Salim. Scotland Yard has accused Senussi of involvement in the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie killing 270 people. A Paris court has convicted him in absentia for the destruction of a French airliner over Niger in 1989, in which 170 people died. Libya's recently elected government has obtained an Interpol arrest warrant for his suspected involvement in fraud including embezzlement of public funds and "misuse of power for personal benefit." Senussi's handover has been reported by State TV, but it has not been confirmed by authorities. If he is under Libyan custody, it will be a blow to the ICC and France, who both want to try Senussi.

Mauritania has extradited Libya’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi. Senussi was arrested for illegal entry into Mauritania in March where he sought refuge five months after the capture and killing of former President Muammar al-Qaddafi. He has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity carried out against the opposition in Benghazi during Libya’s 2011 uprising. He is also suspected for involvement in the 1996 massacre of over 1,200 prisoners by the Qaddafi regime at Abu Salim. Scotland Yard has accused Senussi of involvement in the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie killing 270 people. A Paris court has convicted him in absentia for the destruction of a French airliner over Niger in 1989, in which 170 people died. Libya’s recently elected government has obtained an Interpol arrest warrant for his suspected involvement in fraud including embezzlement of public funds and "misuse of power for personal benefit." Senussi’s handover has been reported by State TV, but it has not been confirmed by authorities. If he is under Libyan custody, it will be a blow to the ICC and France, who both want to try Senussi.

Syria

U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi warned conditions in Syria are "deteriorating steadily" while President Bashar al-Assad faces international condemnation. In his first address to the U.N. General Assembly since his appointment, Brahimi said, "The death toll is staggering, the destruction is reaching catastrophic proportions and the suffering of the people is immense." U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon chastised countries providing arms to Syria, saying they are "only contributing to further misery." Russia is the main arms supplier for the Syrian military. According to U.S. officials, Iran resumed shipping of military equipment to Syria using Iraqi airspace, despite efforts from the Obama administration to push Iraq to shut down the air corridor. In her visit to China, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed disappointment over the Chinese and Russian vetoes on security council resolutions on Syria. But, China claimed it supports a political transition in Syria. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi called for Assad to resign, saying change is inevitable," and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Syria a "terrorist state." Meanwhile, Syrian forces began bombarding districts of Aleppo before dawn on Wednesday killing at least 19 people with estimates up to 54 people dead. According to the activist group the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) at least 135 people were killed across Syria Tuesday.

Headlines  

  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has appointed 10 new provincial governors, three of whom are Muslim Brotherhood members.
  • Iran said it will not differentiate between Israeli and U.S. interests, and will retaliate against both if there is a strike.
  • Farouk Hosni, long time Egyptian culture minister under Hosni Mubarak, has been charged with corruption over an unexplained $3 million in assets.
  • Awaiting official permission to exhume the body of former Palestinian President Yassir Arafat, a group of French judges investigating Arafat’s death are seeking to travel to Ramallah.

Arguments & Analysis 

Drafting Constitutions‘ (Khaled Fahmy, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs)

"Any constitution should strike a balance between the shared values of a people as they are, and their common image of themselves as they wish to be. Accordingly, the question should not be "What is the religious persuasion of the members of the constituent assembly?" but, rather, "Are they simply drafters who translate the shared values of the Egyptian people into constitutional texts, or are they visionaries who can transcend the lowest common denominator and aspire to loftier goals agreed upon by few but dreamed of by many?"

Our revolutionary moment requires us to abandon the "Islamists versus non-Islamists" criterion when thinking of how to form our new constitutional assembly. We should ask whether our new constitution should be written by drafters or by dreamers."

The people aren’t stupid‘ (Amira Hass, Haaretz)

"The people aren’t stupid. Even if last year’s social protest didn’t stop the plague of inequality, it proved that a crowd isn’t a mob, but a group of people with both collective and individual intelligence. Such critical, rebellious intelligence doesn’t get lost. Nor have people lost the understanding that the mechanisms of power and profit are reproducing themselves at the expense of and in opposition to the general public.

The people aren’t stupid. But the corporation executives, the bank owners and managers, their proteges in Knessets and cabinets, in party central committees and research institutes, are much stronger, not to mention more experienced and cunning. A year is a very short time, and there’s no reason to declare that the protest has gone bankrupt and bury the tents. We will yet enjoy a resumption of the protest, and also some of its fruits."

Iran, women in the frame‘ (Sanam Vakil, OpenDemocracy)

"The Islamic government that took form after the Iranian revolution of 1979 contained numerous contradictions, many of which impacted directly on Iranian women. Women had been prominent supporters of the revolution, demonstrating in large numbers alongside their male counterparts. Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolution’s figurehead, who became "supreme leader" until his death in 1989, astutely recognised the importance of female political support and encouraged women’s political participation to achieve this – despite the imposition of retrograde Islamic laws that reversed previous legal gains and protections that women had long sought."

— By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey 

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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