News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Biggest mass migration since WWII streaming into Europe will continue as long as world fails to address root causes-UK Guardian

4/24/15, "Libya's people smugglers: inside the trade that sells refugees hopes of a better life," UK Guardian, Patrick Kingsley

"Smuggling boats start life as fishing trawlers. The moment of transition from the latter to the former is informal and almost imperceptible to outsiders. 

As the boat in Zuwara shows, smugglers do not maintain a separate, independent harbour of clearly marked vessels, ready to be targeted by EU air strikes. They buy them off fishermen at a few days’ notice. To destroy their potential pool of boats, the EU would need to raze whole fishing ports.

One of the reasons why [Libyan] fish is expensive is the lack of fishing boats going out to sea to fish,” a people smuggler who wanted to be known as Hajj explains later. “They’re all being used by smugglers.”...

BBC map

"There are some who argue that greater recognition for the Amazigh [Berbers] would turn the tide against smuggling, at least in Zuwara. After Gaddafi fell in 2011, in part thanks to western air strikes, there were hopes among the Amazigh that the new Libya, supported by the EU, would afford Berbers more rights. But little progress has followed, and in several interviews locals claim the surge in smuggling is a response to being ignored. Others say the Amazigh’s plight should not be used to excuse organised crime.

But Hajj himself says the two are linked. “There are smugglers who work for the pleasure of making money, even in Zuwara,” he says.

But there are others like me who work for the pleasure of putting pressure on you [Europeans].

True or not, recognising the Amazigh won’t curb smuggling in Arab parts of Libya. That’s the message from Ahmed, who smuggles from Garibulli, a town a few hundred kilometres to the east. While the world fails to address the root causes of the biggest wave of mass migration since the second world war, the business will continue.

“It’s not going to stop,” he says. “It’s simply not going to stop. The borders in the south [of Libya] are open, and there is always going to be an appetite for it.”...

Zuwarans also ask for proper economic alternatives. Work has always been scarce in the home of a long-marginalised ethnic minority: the Amazigh, or Berbers. Hajj says he only turned to smuggling because he could not find work as a lawyer....

The EU, if it really wants to stop smuggling from Zuwara, they need to bring us the tools to this office,” Mostafa said, claiming that millions of dollars meant for ports like Zuwara had never reached their target after they were sent straight to the central government in Tripoli. “We need serious tools, boats, proper patrols, a committee to train us. Don’t give the aid to Tripoli. Give it to us in Zuwara.”"...(parags. near end of article) Map from BBC


5/13/15, "The Facebook smugglers selling the dream of Europe," BBC,

"The collapse of the Libyan state has also emboldened the smugglers, allowing them to promote themselves online without fear of arrest. Abdul Aziz laughed at the suggestion that his Facebook page might attract the attention of the authorities. "What authorities? There aren't any authorities. There isn't even a regime. There's nothing.""... 


4/21/15, "Obama’s Murky Libya Policy," Ann Marlowe

"Most Americans are unaware that since August (2014), Tripoli and western Libya have been ruled by Islamic extremists very similar to people we are fighting in Iraq and Yemen. We don’t currently negotiate with the terrorists in those countries, but we advise the Libyans to do so in theirs. Many of the top Fajr commanders are veterans of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda affiliate; many were captured on the battlefield by US troops in Afghanistan or Pakistan, rendered to Libya, and imprisoned until Qaddafi’s overthrow. Abdelhakim Belhadj, a participant in the UN negotiations, is among the LIFG gang—even though his Watan Party failed to win a single seat in the House of Representatives.

The prime minister chosen by this motley crew, Omar al-Hassi, was prone to praising Ansar al-Sharia, the terror group that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens on September 12, 2012. Even as Hassi was dismissed two weeks ago, Ansar’s Libyan head declared allegiance to the Islamic State “caliph” in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. One former Libyan cabinet minister, Ali Mohamed Mihirig, told me that the Misrata militias in Fajr are still arming Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi....

Libyans have noticed that the UN-sponsored talks involve, in the local English-language paper’s words, “an even split between representatives of secular and Islamist parties,” even though the Islamists won only a small share of seats in the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. The talks are penalizing the legitimate government for losing control of the capital to violent thugs—and that control is the only “legitimacy” the thugs have. The moral seems to be that one gets a better position at the negotiating table by picking up guns than by political campaigning. Libyans supporting the elected government often lament on Twitter and Facebook that the international community is foisting violent Islamists upon an electorate that has done everything possible to reject them.

Meanwhile, the US has opposed lifting a United Nations ban on arming the Tobruk government to take control of its own territory back from the Islamic State, Ansar al-Sharia, and Fajr. Libyans don’t understand why the elected Yemeni government gets help, and the elected Iraqi government gets help, but the elected Libyan government is supposed to negotiate evenly with those who rose up against it. Qatar and Turkey continue to support the Fajr militias, including with covert arms shipments, while US allies like Egypt’s General Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah, and the UAE support the Tobruk government as the best defense against a takeover of the country by the Islamic State....

The level playing field of the current peace talks has lead the Libyans—politically immature, impressionable, and prone to conspiracy theories—to believe that the international community, and the US in particular, views unelected Islamic extremists as appropriate negotiating partners and legitimate political voices.

There are plenty of Libyans who mutter darkly that the US is “really” supporting the terrorists—and it’s hard to explain that it only looks that way....

The Libyan state has spent an estimated 4 billion dinars, or $2.96 billion, financing the undisciplined militiamen (of all stripes) who have torn the country apart. That would have paid for a lot of job training programs. And the internationally recognized post-Qaddafi administrations have been extraordinarily incompetent. Libya’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told me, “We don’t have the institutions to absorb the foreign assistance.” When I asked what help he wanted from the US for Libya, he only suggested easing the UN arms embargo....

No Libyan government has ever asked for US troops on the ground, and that’s a good thing. If anything, the Libyans have been too reluctant to ask for our expertise. But what they have asked for, and can really use, is the moral weight of our support for elections and our refusal to negotiate with terrorists.... 

“We’re going to have to encourage some of the countries inside of the Gulf who have, I think, influence over the various factions inside of Libya to be more cooperative themselves,” was President Obama’s insight Friday into the country’s eight-month-old civil war. Since Qatar has been supporting the Islamist militias who seized Tripoli while the United Arab Emirates has been supporting the internationally recognized Libyan government in Tobruk, it’s not clear why it has taken Obama until now to realize this."...

(originally published on World Affairs website, 4/21/2015


Comment: "Obama's policy" isn't the issue. The entire US political establishment has the same "policy."

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