Diplomacy American-Style: Implications for Libya, Safira Deborah and International Law


On the 6th April 2014, Libya al-Ahrar General Manager Huda El-Serari hosted an interview with UK Ambassador Michael Aron and US Ambassador Deborah Jones.  These prominent Ambassadors gave their countries’ positions on a variety of subjects: ‘including the recent controversy over the ‘Morning Glory’ oil tanker; drones and foreign intervention inside Libya, and the future of the US Consulate inside the country.’    Diplomatically speaking, it was an atypical interview in that sitting Ambassadors discussed publicly, not privately their countries’ stance on the strategic domestic policies of their host country.

As a result, comments and satire among Libyans swirled around a few provocative responses by Ambassador Jones.  Initial negativity narrowed to how Ambassador Jones remarked that federalism is misunderstood and that the Emirates are a successful regional example for Libya to follow.

Ambassador Jones comments and subsequent actions will be the discussion of this article.  Utilizing US State Department sites, we will discuss the greater issue of how America views diplomacy and then practices it in Libya.  We delve into how the American version of diplomacy is in contradiction to international law.  Finally, we analyze The-Ibrahim-Jathran-Issue within the parameters of international law and the fact if pursued legally it could be considered as a US Intervention in Libya.  Note: we take no posture on federalism. We believe federalism should be a debate among Libyanswithout foreign influence.


Diplomacy American-Style

Adding to our narrative will be two voices from reliable sources that naturally meld and contribute to this dialogue.  First, there is an interesting annotation in the comment section on an article about an American Ambassador. Written by an ex-diplomat, presumably western, we found the details in this comment plausible.  After a little investigation in the US State Department site, we found it credible, albeit a colloquial depiction of an Embassy staff’s duties.   See below: “4 “I” Stages: Introduction, Information, Interaction and Influence.” .

Secondly, melding with the ex-diplomat’s comment is this image from the US State Department site.  It is US Diplomat’s job description: Public Diplomacy Officer and Political Officer.

A note from the authors: on the 8th May 2014, we noticed that the US Department of States’ links no longer go to to the respective pages.  We assume that they have been phased-out but we retain the right to display these images as they were published on 18th April 2014.

Career Tracks U.S. Department of State Public Diplomacy Officers

Career Tracks U.S. Department of State Public Diplomacy Officers

As we noticed the symmetry between the two references above, we will use the ex-diplomat’s comment as a checklist to evaluate Ambassador Jones’ actions:  “4 “I” Stages: Introduction, Information, Interaction and Influence.” The comment:

The 4-Is of Diplomacy Politics.huOur checklist shows that Ambassador Jones has already finished “Stage A: Introduction”.  Since the April 6th  interview, Ambassador Jones has said that she is collecting information and background on the issues facing Libya.   It seems she has also satisfied Stage B: Information: given and collected”.  Did you notice that the checklist did not mention… TO LISTEN?

As she collected information, Ambassador Jones opened doors under the pretense of an offer to mediate amongst the array of Libyan political parties, tribes and displaced.   It seems to satisfy “Stage C: Interaction”, Ambassador Jones has stepped up her meetings with political, religious and tribal officials.   Paralleling the frequency of her gatherings is an increase in the expressed uneasiness on the Libyan sites.  It is focusing on her photo sessions

By publicly suggesting federalism for Libya, she is expressing the official American position.   For Ambassador Jones, altruism is not her motivation.   She is a diplomat.  As we now know, her job is to fulfill her duties as detailed in the US State Department site while representing her country.   As such, Ambassador Jones’ strategic gatherings are a guise to present the American position AND to state what the America expects of her friends.

And as the representative of the world’s most powerful nation, by strength of her perceived power, Ambassador Jones’ current deliberations would be a form of coercion as her presence would place undue influence on the Libyan decision-makers.   It would suppress domestic dissent by telling Libyans how to fall in line with the American road map for Libya.  In our checklist, that would be “Stage D: Influence of Decision-Makers”.

The checklist’s prediction:‘There is also resentment within the host country because the host country politicians will be seen as stooges’.    

 Has the current actions of Ambassador Jones already moved Libyan public opinion to this stage?


Diplomacy in International Law

American Diplomacy of undue influence on domestic politics is a violation of International law.    Legally, each member of the international community is considered as a sovereign and independent state and its independence should be respected by the other members.  The core measurement of the independence of each state is its freedom in taking its own decisions and planning its own destiny.   Any attempt by a state to influence another state’s decision is considered an intervention.  As a result, with few exceptions, all international legal conventions and declarations condemn all forms of intervention in the affairs of another country.   Condemned actions of an intervening state could range from legislative or executive branch policies that cause direct interference, interference in local politics by the diplomats or the intervention by military force.  (See our other examples below.)

Within the framework of international law, we are able to examine Ambassador Jones and the United States Government’s actions with respect to Libya.  We offer two quotes:

It is a violation of International law for a diplomat to intervene in internal politics by meeting local decision-makers in order to influence internal politics:

‘…Article 3 of the International Law Commission’s Draft Declaration on Rights and Duties of States categorically provides that ‘every State has the duty to refrain from intervention in the internal or external affairs of any other State’.7 In 1965 the General Assembly adopted a (p. 430) Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention8 in which it declared that no state has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other state…’

It is violation in international law to intervene in another country’s affairs:

From the 1986 International Court of Justice Report: ‘…however much one state may dislike the particular ideology or political system adopted by another, that does not legally permit it to intervene so as to bring about changes:2 support for an opposition within another state is perhaps one of the clearest examples of unlawful intervention in the affairs of that state3…’


An American Intervention in Libya

Support for an opposition within another state is perhaps one of the clearest examples of unlawful intervention in the affairs of that state3.    No matter the rhetoric given (‘theft from the Libyan people’) or action taken (Morning Glory), the American Government’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of State (DOS), has given support to the separatist movement of Ibrahim Jathran.   Further, we state that the United States Government could be held legally accountable for taking the side of Mr. Jathran within the Jathran/Libyan Government conflict.  We discussed this in our previous articles.  

The American Government’s DOJ and DOS continue to endorse the actions of Mr. Jathran by continuing to APPROVE of his agents and their FARA Registration Statements 6200 & 6202.  In their application to represent Mr. Jathran, Mr. Ari Ben-Menashe and Mr. Patrick Hughes provided an attached consultancy agreement outlining their controversial lobbying activities.  The applicants and their consultancy agreement, as required by US FARA regulation #616, was REVIEWED and APPROVED in January 2014 by the Departments of Justice and State as it was consideredappropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States”.  FARA Regulation index act # 616:

FARA REGULATIONS: DOJ & DOS knew and approved of #6200 & 6202

FARA REGULATIONS: DOJ & DOS knew and approved of #6200 & 6202

Let’s examine the proposed lobby activities.  Notice that the agents blatantly declare ‘that we shall strive to provide you with economic aid by soliciting buyers for your oil when the need arises as well as tankers for the transport of oil.’  The US Government KNEW of, APPROVED and REAFFIRMED this consultancy agreement which manifested in the Morning Glory incident.  See our previous articles detailing these facts.  We find it hypocritical for the American Government to tout support for the Libyan people while US Departments of Justice and State undermine the Libyan Government.

This is point (1) of page 1 of the attached consultancy agreement detailing lobbying activities and signed by Mr. Jathran’s agent with Dickson, Madson Canada, Inc.:

US Government- FARA 6200 Consultancy Agreement Point 1 of page 1

US Government- FARA 6200 Consultancy Agreement Point 1 of page 1

As a result of this duplicitous policy, Ibrahim Jathran’s agents continue to fulfill the rest their lobbying activities: seeking recognition, getting military arms & training, as well as international funding.    The lobbying actions of the US register agents’ has undermined the authority of the internationally  recognized Government of Libya.   These US documents, 6200 & 6202, provided support to a separatist movement which triggered insecurity by encouraging insurrection within the Libyan domestic landscape.   Therefore, one might assert that this satisfies the definition of Intervention under International Law.   


A Violation of International AND US Law

The Department of Justice and State’s approval of 6200 & 6202 are ALSO a violation of US Law as they are laden with intentional omissions, false and misleading statements of fact.  The statements’ approval is in violation to their own regulations.

FARA Enforcement

FARA Enforcement

So one has to ask, why would the Department of State and Department of Justice obviously violate their own regulations?   One can only conclude that the lobbying actions of Mr. Jathran’s agents are essential for an American Agenda within Libya.   So in light of our discussion of Diplomacy American-Style, we are forced to askIs it coincidental that Mr. Jathran has been made the face of the pro-federalist campaign in Libya?   

Finally, if Ambassador Jones wishes be of assistance to the Libyan population, she should FIRST work to revoke FARA 6200 & 6202 so that Mr. Ben Menashe and Mr. Hughes can no longer aid Mr. Jathran as he seeks funding, military arms and training.   It would thereby strengthen the Libyan Government as it attempts to reach a negotiated settlement.


A note from the authors: we remind the Libyan Foreign Ministry that it is their right to voice disapproval to the American Government.  Further, we suggest that the Libyan Foreign Ministry file a request with the US State Department that FARA registration statements 6200 & 6202 be revoked as they interfere with Libyan domestic politics and security. 

Ari Ben-Menashe's US Government document filed on behalf of Ibrahim Jathran

Ari Ben-Menashe’s US Government document filed on behalf of Ibrahim Jathran     6200 & 6202 


This is from the US Department of State site:  *CAREERS REPRESENTING AMERICA*.  It provides job descriptions for certain Foreign Service or Embassy positions.   Public Diplomacy Officer

Career Tracks U.S. Department of State Public Diplomacy Officers

Career Tracks U.S. Department of State Public Diplomacy Officers

Career Tracks U.S. Department of State Political Officer

Career Tracks U.S. Department of State Political Officer

Career Tracks U.S. Department of State Economic Officer

Career Tracks U.S. Department of State Economic Officer


This is to provide more links about Intervention under International Law.

Intervention is a ‘prohibition embodied in several treaties’.  Several conventions, statutes or precedents in international law agree upon how countries deal with each other.    “The Declaration of Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States, particularly the first and third principles;9    Principle VI of the Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations between Participating States, forming part of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe 1975.10   For the United Nations and its member states acting through its organs, non-intervention in essentially domestic matters is a principle set out in Article 2(7) of the Charter.11     We add:  Declaration of the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States.


Parts of this op/ed article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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