Top of the Morning: Elections in East Timor; Libya; Security Council Puts the Squeeze on Mali Rebels

Top stories from DAWNS Digest. 

Security Council Inches Closer to Authorizing Military Intervention in Mali

The Security Council passed a resolution on Thursday threatening sanctions against Islamist rebels in Northern Mali, who have been on a week long rampage destroying cultural heritage sites in Timbuktu. Some are seeing this Council action as a potential lead in to a future resolution authorizing military intervention to expel the rebels in Northern Mali. “Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, president of Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, said the organization considers the resolution a first step toward authorizing the proposed force of 3,200 people, including military, police and civilians. ‘I think it is an important step towards achieving peace and stability in Mali,’ he said, ‘given the rapid deterioration of the security and humanitarian situations.’ France’s U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said the council awaits an official request by ECOWAS to authorize a stabilization force that would try to oust the Islamists in northern Mali. Araud said finances for a mission must be discussed, and the council would not give ECOWAS ‘carte blanche.’” (WaPo

East Timor Elections on Saturday are Going to Be Awesomely Peaceful

It’s been over a decade since international peacekeeping forces first came to East Timor, which has certainly seen ups and downs during that time. But now, East Timor is on a solid very path. UN Peacekeepers are on their way out, and an election scheduled for Saturday is poised to be event-free. This is how it’s supposed to work. “Based on the two presidential elections in March and April, Saturday’s poll is expected to be well organised, transparent and peaceful. That these elections are being largely run by the East Timorese themselves is a positive sign. Indeed, East Timor’s 2012 parliamentary campaign has been so quiet that some observers have openly wondered what they are missing. Even Fretilin, the largest party which some viewed as being confrontational, cancelled its final rally in Dili and instead opted to hand out flowers as a gesture of peace. In many respects, one could say that, despite the traumatic disruptions of 2006-07, East Timor’s experiment with democracy has been a marked success. With its third set of elections behind it on Sunday, it could be reasonably claimed that East Timor has passed the threshold for democratic consolidation. (Sydney Morning Herald

Chances Are, So Will Libya’s Elections on Saturday (For the Most Part)

Libyans head to the Polls for the First Time in…6 Decades! “Nearly three million Libyans have registered to vote in the country’s first multi-party election in 60 years, set for Saturday.  They will choose among 1400 candidates for a 200-seat National Assembly that will form a temporary government and draft a constitution, leading to another election next year…There are more than 140 parties and small factions campaigning for the election, and hundreds of independent candidates. Islamists are expected to do well, as is a secular group of officials who were involved in last year’s transition. But Libyans from all walks of life say the country will plot a moderate course regardless of who is elected.” (VOA