Libyan Civil War: Enabling Illicit Migration Flows, Threatening Libya’s Neighbors
Only by supporting a long-term political solution to the Libyan conflict can the EU address the migration crisis.
It is no coincidence that the three boats that capsized in the Mediterranean in April 2015 causing deaths of hundreds of migrants all set sail from Libya. It is estimated that most of more than 36 000 people who tried to cross to Europe in 2015 embarked in Libya and used various routes across the central Mediterranean sea to Italy. Since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 Libya has suffered from growing instability, factionalism and, since July 2014, increasingly chaotic civil war. The recent conflict has pitted two loose alliances against each other: the first is the internationally recognized government based in Tobruk in the east of the country and backed by the Libyan Army and various militias; the second is the rival administration formed by pro-Islamist forces in the capital Tripoli, which relies on a diverse coalition of armed groups. The situation is further complicated by the presence of various local armed factions and militant jihadists allied either to Islamic State, or Ansar al-Sharia. The failed post-Gaddafi transition and ensuing civil war have crippled state institutions and fragmented political authority. Combined with porous borders, this situation has allowed flourishing people smuggling networks to operate with impunity and created problems for Libya’s neighbours... (Jan Daniel)