An Open Letter to the UN Democracy Fund and Rory Peck Trust Regarding your “local partner” – Aref Ali Nayed’s Libya Institute for Advanced Studies

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'The UN should be the solution in Libya, but it’s the problem I Randeep Ramesh I Opinion I The Guardian'

‘The UN should be the solution in Libya, but it’s the problem I Randeep Ramesh I Opinion I The Guardian’  HERE

A Note from the Authors: This 2 February 2016 open letter was sent to the emails below.  We alerted the following to this article by their Twitter accounts; Executive Head Savill, Director Carr, UN Democracy Fund, Rory Peck Trust, the UN and UNSMIL.  Our Tweet.  Again, on the 15 February 2016 we tweeted to the above accounts the newest pertinent revelations from The Guardian for UNDEF and RPT.   Concerning those 14 February 2016 revelations in undisclosed Leon emails, ‘s noted that:

'Sohail Nakhooda on Twitter_ _@snakhooda_ Dr Aref Ali Nayed meets with Bernardino Leon today in Brussels http___t_co_aBpdMTTcPU_' - twitter_com_snakhooda_status_609781257203900416

‘Sohail Nakhooda on Twitter_ _@snakhooda_ Dr Aref Ali Nayed meets with Bernardino Leon today in Brussels http___t_co_aBpdMTTcPU_’ – twitter_com_snakhooda_status_609781257203900416  HERE

“The emails, hitherto undisclosed, appear to show that Léon asks permission to proceed with a plan to name the Libyan ambassador to the UAE as a possible prime minister of the unity government. In one set Leon draws up a plan with the UAE’s national security council on how the Libyan armed forces could be run.

For many Libyans these disclosures are profoundly shocking. Léon claimed there had been a “selective reading” of his emails and had similar communications with other regional players. But following publication of the emails, senior UN officials I spoke to confirmed that they were being subjected to “extraordinary pressure” from Gulf states.

The UN could have conducted a transparent investigation and restored its credibility. Instead it replaced Léon with a veteran German diplomat. Léon took up his role with the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, and from this vantage point surfaced last month to pronounce Libya a “failed state”.”

As we know the Libyan Ambassador to UAE is Dr. Nayed.   Further, that “permission” requested by Mr. Leon on appointing Dr. Nayed as Prime Minister was seemingly confirmed on 5 March 2015 by Libyan Academic Mohamed Eljarh ‏@Eljarh in his tweet mentioned below. 

Considering the seriousness of these implications from the previously undisclosed emails, we re-sent this email on 18 February 2016 with the additional revelations, along with an adjoining tweet.

We hope that UNDEF and Rory Peck Trust consider the implications of their continued partnership with Aref Ali Nayed’s Libya Institute for Advanced Studies.

_________________________

Our 2 February 2016 Letter: An Open Letter to the UN Democracy Fund and Rory Peck Trust Regarding your “local partner” – Aref Ali Nayed’s Libya Institute for Advanced Studies
LIAS RPT UNDEF LOGOS ' - liasinstitute_com_ar_main_departments_school-media_rory-peck-trust

LIAS-RPT-UNDEF LOGOS ‘ – liasinstitute_com_ar_main_departments_school-media_rory-peck-trust HERE

 

Re: LIAS & its owner/chair Dr. Nayed as UNDEF/RPT’s “local partner” in the project for training Libyan Journalists
BACKGROUND:

On 10 September 2014 as Executive Head of UN Democracy Fund and Director of Rory Peck Trust, Ms. Savill and Ms. Carr, held a coordinated joint signing and press conference in UNDEF’s New York headquarters to announce “UNDEF’s signs first project of new round, will strengthen independent journalism in Libya.”

The press release noted that ”The project will work to strengthen independent journalism in Libya, so that local citizens have better access to information about the country’s democratic process even amid considerable security challenges. Implemented by the Rory Peck Trust together with local partners, the project will train a core group of freelance journalists in freelance tradecraft and safety skills. This will be developed into an online resource, providing all freelance journalists in Libya with access to information that can assist them in producing more professional and ethical content, safely and securely.”

At that time, Rory Peck Trust press release announced their local partners as the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS).   The LIAS press release of the Rory Peck Trust partnership. LIAS is listed as an academic institution whose owner/chair is Dr. Aref Ali Nayed.

From LIAS’s Washington DC lobbying consultancy agreements signed by Dr. Nayed: (Page 1 Exhibit A: Question 6): ‘Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, Chairman’.   Chairmanship/ownership was noted (PAGE 2 EXHIBIT A: Question 10) in both FARA registration statements  HERE & HERE.

Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, as of 5 November 2015, is a named individual within the leaked emails of former UNSMIL envoy Bernardino León.   It was noted as a “real scandal” by Libyan Affairs pundit, Wolfram Lacher, while Middle East Eye’s Dania Akkad wrote: “Leon has come under fire over the past week as a series of leaked emails have revealed that he worked covertly with the UAE to support one side of Libya’s civil war while serving as the key mediator between the warring parties.   In addition to consulting with the UAE over the negotiations, another leaked email showed that Leon was also negotiating with the UAE over a $50,000-a-month job training diplomats in the UAE, the Guardian reported.”

For reference we provide articles where Dr. Nayed is cited personally within The Guardian, Middle East Eye and Inner City Press.   Other relevant articles include: Foreign Policy, Middle East Eye and The New York Times articles.

Dr. Nayed’s specified role noted within the emails

Dr. Nayed was noted in the leaked emails under the heading: ”THE POLITICAL PROCESS”. After point 5, Mr. León made this note to the UAE Foreign Minister:

“Note: all my movements and proposals have been consulted with (and in many cases designed by) the HOR and Aref Nayed and Mahmud Jibril (with whom I speak on a daily basis) following Your request.”

Given Dr. Nayed was “consulted with and in many cases designed”  “ALL” the “movements and proposals” of the UN Envoy at the “request” of the UAE Foreign Minister, it is relevant to provide the entire excerpt to note exactly what political “proposals” Dr. Nayed was “consulted with” or “designed” for Libya.  The net result directly or indirectly is that Alwasat, a Libyan daily noted in a 25 January 2016 interview with Bernardino León the headline: “Bernardino Leon: #Libya is a failed state, will remain so for a long time.”

The political process excerpt from the Bernardino León email printed in Middle East Eye:

THE POLITICAL PROCESS
I have been working in Libya with three main goals:

1. Having one government in Tripoli which is supported by a majority of Libyans and friendly towards HOR that could restore order in the economy and start building security. Eliminating Hassi’s illegitimate government taking militias out of the cities is crucial.

The roadmap should include:
• Unity government.
• Stabilization (ceasefire/international monitoring/militias withdrawal).
• Constitutional process.

2. Promoting a political agreement between moderates that will facilitate the presence in the country of international monitors from the EU (and maybe US). Europeans are ready to do it soon if there is agreement while a chapter VII UN force will probably take a longer time that might be enough to have a difficult to control escalation.

3. To break the alliance between mainstream Misratans and the most radical Islamists. This alliance is not related to political or religious causes, is purely based on power and opportunity criteria, getting enough support in a war of power between different groups with an important – but not exclusive – link with tribes and cities. Misrata is a business oriented society with no more radical Islamists that other cities.

4. To work on the support of a group of influential countries that can make this strategy possible and reduce the marge of maneuver of those supporting Tripoli/Misrata.

5. To reinforce HOR.

Note: all my movements and proposals have been consulted with (and in many cases designed by) the HOR and Aref Nayed and Mahmud Jibril (with whom I speak on a daily basis) following Your request.

One must conclude – as detailed by Mr. León – that Dr. Nayed was working in coordination with him to “break”, “promote” and “reinforce” the Libyan political landscape in “ALL” of Mr. Leon’s “movement and proposals”.   Therefore, Dr. Nayed actions included among others:

  1. “Having” a Tripoli government “friendly towards HOR” while “eliminating Hassi’s illegitimate government…”
  2. “Promoting a political agreement …that will facilitate the presence in the country of international monitors from the EU (and maybe US).
  3. “Break the alliance between mainstream Misratans and the most radical Islamists.”
  4. “To work on the support of a group of influential countries” while reducing maneuverability “of those supporting Tripoli/Misrata.”
  5. “To reinforce HOR.”

In other words, Dr. Nayed provided consultation and/or “designed” “movement and proposals”   for Mr. León as a UN mediator – with the impartiality that title implies – to “reinforce” one political group (that Dr. Nayed is politically affiliated) while completely delegitimize” the other (he has no affiliation).   Or colloquially stated – favoring to one Libyan political side by actively undermined the other.

 

Executive Head Savill and Director Carr:

The intent of this open letter is to first draw public awareness to the working relationship between United Nations Democracy Fund, Rory Peck Trust with Libya Institute for Advanced Studies.   In that end this open letter is to publicly underscore that the UNDEF/RoryPeck/LIAS working relationship is no longer tenable in view of the uncontested revelations within The Guardian and Middle East Eye articles about former UN Envoy Bernardino León leaked emails.

As mentioned, named in those uncontested León emails is – Dr. Aref Ali Nayed – owner/chair of your local partner, LIAS.   As it is now nearly three months since the revelations of Dr. Nayed, we note that it appears that the working relationship with UNDEF/Rory Peck Trust/LIAS is still intact. As our interest in Dr. Nayed’s politics is his impact on the future of Libyan Journalism, we are publicly drawing your awareness to the uncontested revelations.   The specific quote from The Guardian & Middle East Eye:concerning LIAS owner/chair, Dr. Aref Ali Nayed is:

Note: all my movements and proposals have been consulted with (and in many cases designed by) the HOR and Aref Nayed and Mahmud Jibril (with whom I speak on a daily basis) following Your request.

Based on the above quote, the “working relationship” with LIAS is no longer tenable for UNDEF and Rory Peck Trust because:

Irrefutable, uncontested evidence in the paragraph above denotes LIAS owner/chair Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, as a named architect (“All my movement and proposals”) in the partiality and completely delegitimize” of one side in the Libyan conflict by UN Envoy León.   Mr. León acknowledges to working in consultation with, in “ALL” “movements and proposals” “in many cases designed by” among others, Dr. Nayed.

Dr. Nayed was surreptitiously – to most of his fellow Libyan citizens – working with a host government where he is a Libyan Ambassador (UAE) as well as with an International political organization (UNSMIL) to shape the political landscape of his country (Libya) by completely delegitimize”– one political group over another.

A Tobruk-linked politician, Dr. Nayed’s partiality is confirmed as documented by the emails, couple this with Dr. Nayed’s documented insults of “Thugs” and “Fascists” to the same “delegitimize GNC” (Tripoli) group.

 

Why the revelations in León emails are pertinent to UNDEF and RPT

Given Dr. Nayed’s active partiality detailed above, in this time of Libyan cultural segregation based on politics, it is a conflict of interest for UNDEF and RPT to allow Dr. Nayed’s private institute LIAS to continue as the Local partner in general and specifically to do the initial vetting of the potential candidates for the journalism program.   Although indicating RPT/LIAS co-select the candidates, actually the RPT ”SIGN UP” link relocates directly to the LIAS site.   Therefore, LIAS is essentially in control over the selection process given that initial vetting is done by LIAS. For that reason, given that LIAS’s owner/chair is politically active with the Tobruk Government PLUS is on-record calling “Muslim Brotherhood-associated lobbyists” “a bunch of thugs’” or “fascists’” which a large swath of Libyan society has an affiliation AND THEN coupled in Dr. Nayed’s factionalism within the León emails – Initial vetting in the UNDEF/ RPT program by Dr. Nayed’s private institution, LIAS – can be construed as a conflict of interest.

Political Partisanship: Dr. Nayed and his private institution – Libya Institution for Advanced Studies.   As demonstrated by Mr. León’s emails and Dr. Nayed’s quotes, he is an actively partisan politician and/or diplomat.   Pertinent for UNDEF and RPT, is his private institution LIAS – your local partner – an actively partisan institution?   Aside from the fact that LIAS and Kalam institutes owned by Dr. Nayed are documented devoting much of their promotional time (social media) promoting Dr. Nayed accomplishments (personal academic work or event participation), there is one more irrefutable illustration where LIAS is politically partisan.

Dr. Nayed’s academic institution LIAS hired a political lobbyist in Washington in January 2015.  According to press reports, Dr. Nayed’s LIAS has been the vehicle to take “charge of pro-Tobruk lobbying in Washington”. HERE, HERE & HERE.  Further, Dr. Nayed’s academic institute, Libya Institute of Advanced Studies (LIAS) is the vehicle that promotes not only itself,  ‘Pro-Tobruk lobbying’ but also Dr. Nayed in both Washington and Libya.   As documented from Washington DC lobbyist consultancy agreements, Dr. Nayed personally signed to use the same academic institution – your local partner – as the vehicle to promote himself in Washington at the same time as his Libyan prime ministerial bid.  An excerpt from LIAS’ consultancy agreement with American Lobbying firm SANITAS INTERNATIONAL:

“Per our recent conversations. Sanitas International Inc. (Sanitas) is honored to support the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) and its Chairman Dr. Aref Ali Nayed during this critical transition period in North African politics.

This letter is to confirm that the LIAS wishes to retain the retention of global consulting firm, Sanitas International to support strategic communications, public affairs and outreach to key stakeholders in the United States and Europe; Our team will focus efforts to strengthen a dialogue with Western Audiences (U S and Europe) educate audiences on the current situation in Libya and to a articulate a realistic approach to improving the lives for all the Libyan people and promoting democracy and stability now and for the future of the country. Part of this effort will be to assist in a robust Western-based strategic, communications and public affairs program and to build public-private partnerships in the previous ways we have discussed and to look at other areas of opportunity, and coordination,                         AND

Sanitas International looks forward to helping LIAS and Dr. Aref Ali Nayed achieve your strategic goals with a wide range of audiences and stakeholders to include top-tier media, Congress, the Obama Administration, think tanks and other key audiences. We also look forward to a long and productive relationship with you and we are eager to begin working on your behalf and on behalf of the people of Libya.”

Note the political dimension in the academic institute of – your local partner – LIAS’s lobbying consultancy contract: ”helping LIAS and Dr. Aref Ali Nayed achieve your strategic goals with a wide range of audiences and stakeholders to include top-tier media, Congress, the Obama Administration, think tanks and other key audiences.”

 

Additional Pertinent Details for UNDEF and Rory Peck Trust

This is the incontestable reason Dr. Nayed’s LIAS working relationship with UNDEF and Rory Peck Trust is no longer tenable.   On the 15 September 2015 in a BBC HARDTALK interview, Dr. Nayed announced his intention to run for Prime Minister of Libya.   An obvious conflict of interest exists with Dr. Nayed campaigning for or being in a Libyan government while his private institution selects and trains Libyan journalists. Earlier 2015 articles noting his intent to run for Prime Minister in African Intelligence, African Intelligence, African Intelligence, The Libya Herald, Al Monitor.

Noting the “Real Scandal” of the León emails, consider that: UNSMIL “approached” Aref Nayed to head the Unity Government.  On 5 March 2015, Mohamed Eljarh ‏@Eljarh, a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council @ACmideast tweeted that:

“Unity Gov: Aref al-Nayed approached by UNSMIL & HoR to head the new unity Gov being negotiated in Morocco.”

Mohamed Eljarh is an accredited Libyan academic who has not recanted this tweet. When considering the documented working relationship between Dr. Nayed and then UNSMIL head Bernardino León as detailed in the leaked emails – this pertinent March 2015 tweet raises suppositions of quid pro quo. https://twitter.com/Eljarh/status/573435849808957440

Dr. Nayed’s Brother owns a recently established TV channel and online media.  On the 3 March 2015, the Libya Herald noted in an article:

“A new privately-owned Libyan satellite TV channel was launched from Amman Jordan yesterday.   The Qanat Libya (Libya’s Channel) is reportedly owned by Rida Al-Nayid, the brother of Libya’s ambassador to the UAE, Aref Al-Nayid.

The channel is expected to share the political outlook of the House of Representatives in Tobruk. The channel has also taken the step of broadcasting in MPEG4 HD which requires specific HD receivers – a move that has meant many Libyans are unable to receive the signal properly.” 

Significance for UNDEF and Rory Peck Trust when Dr. Nayed as a declared Prime ministerial candidate is the LIAS statement: “The project very much fits into LIAS’s Media School objectives to be part of creating a strong independent free media in Libya by providing access to training, workshops and long term professional support.”   Can  that “long term professional support” mean to be hired by his brother’s media network?    African Confidential/Maghreb Confidential questioned the conflict of interest in Dr. Nayed’s status as a “Media Baron” in their 16 April 2015 Game Changer series article.  Aref Ali Nayed brother is noted as owner Qanat TV and  LIAS – your local partner – is central within this article.

“Playing Media Baron” and “Prime Minister” simultaneously.   Democratically, it must be either one or other – but not both.   Arguably in an emerging democratic society, a prime minister cannot be a ‘media baron’ if the press is to be independent to do their job.  We quote again from the 2009 The World Bank/Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government book which embodies the watchdog role of the press against corruption:

‘A watchdog press ensures that individuals and institutions who are supposed to serve the public remain transparent and are held accountable. A vigilant press is therefore key to good governance.’ (Page 3)

And from a 2001 policy paper for the State Secretary for Economic Affairs of Switzerland, entitled “A Free Press is Bad News for Corruption”:

An independent press is probably one of the most effective institutions to uncover trespassing by government officials. The reason is that any independent journalist has a strong incentive to investigate and uncover stories on wrongdoing.’ (Page 1802)

A watchdog press ensures that individuals and institutions who are supposed to serve the public remain transparent and are held accountable AND …has a strong incentive to investigate and uncover stories on wrongdoing.   Will the newly trained journalists be free to criticize governmental corruption IF Dr. Nayed is in the government?  Or will they be beholden to the owner/chair of the organization that co-selected, co-trained and/or co-employed them in a brother’s media network?  We question the independence of the future journalists while LIAS owner/chairman, Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, is both “playing media baron” while “vying for prime minister.”

 

The Pursuit of a Free and Democratic Press in Libya.
The Madrid Declaration

The exemplary Madrid Declaration, a UNESCO declaration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain was signed in Madrid on the 30 July 2015.  A significant step, the Madrid Declaration outlined for the senior managers and owners their moral obligation as they recognize the “historical and important role of the Libyan media in reconciliation and shaping the political landscape by outlining “a comprehensive set of principles to which the signatories agree to abide.    It recognizes the key role played by the media in society, especially at this difficult time, and affirms their commitment to promote freedom of expression, responsible journalism and the absolute rejection of all forms of hate speech and incitement to violence.”   These are the links for the exemplary Madrid Declaration: HERE, HERE & HERE.

The Madrid Declaration “round-table discussion” was reconvened with an additional 20+ journalists, owners and managers in attendance who then signed.

UN Democracy Fund and Rory Peck Trust’s Noble Program

Rory Peck Trust wrote: ”UNDEF has funded more than 500 projects in over 150 countries in the areas of rule of law, media, community development, women’s empowerment, and youth participation. This project is the first to be signed in UNDEF’s new Eighth Round of Funding.The UNDEF/RPT press release noted that:

The project will work to strengthen independent journalism in Libya, so that local citizens have better access to information about the country’s democratic process even amid considerable security challenges.  Implemented by the Rory Peck Trust together with local partners, the project will train a core group of freelance journalists in freelance tradecraft and safety skills. This will be developed into an online resource, providing all freelance journalists in Libya with access to information that can assist them in producing more professional and ethical content, safely and securely.”  

As noted, the project’s aim is produce “ethical content” for an informed Libyan electorate. As you know, without a free and democratic press, Libya will not become a democracy.   Within this mindset, the noble pursuit of ethical content MUST be your guiding principal when considering the aforementioned documented conduct of the owner/chair of the institute that is your local partner.    

 

In Conclusion:

Although, the facts detailed above occurred after selecting LIAS as your local partner: (1) Dr. Nayed in the León leaked emails, (2) Dr. Nayed declaration for Prime Minister (3) “Media Baron” as brother launches a TV and media network and (4) LIAS hired Washington DC lobbyist to promote LIAS, Dr. Nayed and “Pro-Tobruk lobbying” to the US Administration/Congress in Washington DC – now, UNDEF and Rory Peck Trust are duly notified.

Given the facts above, for UNDEF and RPT to allow Dr. Nayed’s private institution to continue is first to condone, Dr. Nayed’s actions in his pursuit of Libyan democracy and secondly, by extension your continued partnership with Dr. Nayed’s LIAS is to undermine the tenants of the Madrid Declaration.

Although Dr. Nayed actions were not illegal, the concern for UNDEF and Rory Peck Trust is more subtle.   To borrow a phrase by Mr. León about his “real scandal”: “The optics might not be right, appearance is not good.” For UNDEF/RPT the “optics” or “appearance” or the perception is “not good”.  Dr. Nayed confirmed actions – that is working with a foreign government and a UN mediator to circumvent and seeming undermine the democratic process in his own country.  It is his continuing proximity to the UN Democracy Fund and Rory Peck Trust through his private institution – your local partner – that leaves UNDEF and RPT vulnerable.

As we said the intent of this open letter is to draw public awareness to the working relationship between United Nations Democracy Fund, Rory Peck Trust with Libya Institute for Advanced Studies.   In that end this is to publicly underscore that the UNDEF/RoryPeck/LIAS working relationship is no longer tenable nor will it “will strengthen independent journalism in Libya” as is your aim.   Rather, in our assessment, the continued relationship will actually undermine the future of Libyan Journalism.  

Therefore, to leave no ambiguity, we request a formal, public renunciation of that relationship and request if needed, re-education of the journalists already trained.

 

The New Libya Report

 

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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