Thought for the day

"A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal." --  Ted Turner
"The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it." --  Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race, Chapter 5, "The Wickedness of Creating Large Families." (1920)

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Tunisian analyst Dr Ali Chokri looks at why President Kais Saied decided in July 2021 to suspend parliament and freeze political activities pending a new constitution, why that constitution – adopted in a low turnout referendum – is so controversial, and the present economic and security situations in Tunisia.>>

Several leaders of Libyan armed groups and militias convened in the capital Tripoli on Wednesday, in an attempt to prevent the resumption of clashes between rival forces.

The meeting included commanders from Tripoli, Misrata, Zawiya, and Zintan. They reached an agreement in principle on the withdrawal of all military forces from conflicted zones in west Tripoli. The participants also agreed not to be dragged to fighting, and to meet again next week.

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The hardest part of living through a time of wrenching change is that nobody particularly bothers to inform you that the times have changed and that nothing will be the same again. Certainly not the talking heads on TV, who are often the last to know. You have to figure it out for yourself if you can. But I am here to help.

Britain’s military knew that fighters from an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organisation were benefiting from the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011, but continued to support Nato airstrikes in Libya for another two months.

The revelation raises serious questions about British foreign policy and whether the UK’s then prime minister David Cameron misled parliament.

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Libyan diplomat and writer Giuma Bukleb looks at how the legacy of chaos and the political vacuum seeded by the regime of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, coupled with Libya’s geostrategic location and its oil wealth, turned the country into “a battleground for competing local and foreign interests” and “led to the emergence of new opportunistic political elites lacking the necessary qualifications and tools, helped by militias”.

Five Minutes to Midnight aims to explain some of the intractable issues in international politics. In the coming weeks we will begin by examining six topics: Iran, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, the Russian-Ukrainian war, and the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Hosted by Mohamed EL-Doufani, a retired editor of 30 years experience working for the BBC and holder of a doctorate in Politics from Lancaster University.