While the world waits watching COVID-19 infection rates, and worldwide protest against ethnic violence among a largely unarmed populations by America’s Rank and file sworn to serve and protect, another storm is brewing in Libya.
The only African state to have at one time had zero debt and proposed a Gold-backed dinar, has been plunged into long-term unrest after the U.S. assassination of its long-time leader, Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In the wake of those events stability has been a struggle for the North African state since then. A 2017 United Nations report estimates almost 1 million people were in detention and under serious abuses. Funded by the European Union via Italy, the Libyan Coast Guard saw substantial numbers of refugees and migrants being sold into slavery, and the International Organization on Immigration projects thousands have died.
Funded by the European Union via Italy, the Libyan Coast Guard saw substantial numbers of refugees and migrants being sold into slavery, and the International Organization on Immigration projects thousands have died.
Since Gaddafi’s ouster, a new EU/US-backed government, the Government of National Accord (GNA) was installed in 2015 which garnered mostly EU support but could not gain full local Libyan buy-in. The result was the rise of an opposition front (Libyan National Army) and more violent conflict.
Nearly 80 years after the original 1943 Cairo Declaration , a new declaration was crafted in 2020. This one seeks to create a tentative peace by calling for an immediate cease-fire, construction of a new assembly, house of representatives and presidential council. The EU has been opposed to this new Declaration because they were not present for recent negotiations and the “Berlin Process,” which was formulated through several 2019 meetings in Germany was not used. It appears the only other international allies to make time for the recent Declaration meeting was Russia.
According to an official statement from EU Foreign Policy spokesperson, Peter Stano, “In general, any initiative in line with the United Nations-led Berlin Process is a positive development. But no alternative to the inclusive political solution of the Berlin Process, also confirmed by the U.N., is acceptable.”
Stanos statement comes after Egypt’s President Abdel- Fattah Al Al-Sisi, a local Tobruk parliamentary leader and Khalifa Haftar leader of the LNA came to an agreement this past Saturday, on June 7, 2020. It is unusual that the EU would oppose a successfully brokered agreement, simply because they did not attend the meeting and their protocol was not used in the deal-making. It has been the hope throughout much of the world that developing economies and war-torn states could broker their own peace. Even Arab countries have supported the accord. But now that peace is being opposed by the European Union.
It has been the hope throughout much of the world that developing economies and war-torn states could broker their own peace. Even Arab countries have supported the accord.
It is difficult to imagine that peace could be opposed by the fragile Union at great monetary, logistical and human cost. Consider also that Italy’s sits at the forefront, while its 2019 debt to GDP ratio was at 133 percent–an astronomical number that has hurt its local population and constrained growth. . Yet, Italy via the EU, has been funding the Libyan Coast Guard–and likely at the expense of of its citizens and economic growth. According Forbes, the 2011 Libyan War and ensuing conflicts cost the US $2 Billion dollars a day. We can imagine the costs extrapolated over the years by Italy and the EU’s sustained military and geopolitical interaction over the years.
Currently, unidentified “Libyan fighters” along with the EU- backed government have begun to push forward toward Tripoli, against opposition forces headed by Tobruk Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army (LNA). In a time of pandemics and unrest, it is disturbing to see the rejection of any peace accord–particularly one negotiated locally. Perhaps, in the interest of the disadvantaged EU local population, it is time to let states in conflict broker their own peace, rather than sink billions of dollars into continued military contests. could such entanglements be a part of the reason why many EU economies are underwater? At its current pace, the EU’s fragile balance of could pose the greater threat.