Libya warns EU on migrant operation – ‘sign of frustration by West-installed forces’

Migrants disembark from the Panamanian ship Dignity 1 in the Sicilian harbour of Pozzallo, Italy, June 23, 2015. (Reuters / Antonio Parrinello)
Libya hasn’t got the aid promised by the West in 2011, today it’s against the potential EU naval operation in the Mediterranean saying Western countries can’t create a greater crisis, says Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire website.

EU naval forces are preparing for a possible combat mission, to stem the flow of human trafficking from Libya. But Libyan Air Force Commander Saqr Al-Jaroushi has warned against any such action without permission.

RT:Why is the Libyan air force commander making threats to target air strikes on vessels entering Libya’s waters without permission? The EU naval operation is only on the table at the moment, isn’t it?

Abayomi Azikiwe: We have to consider the broader context in which this is taking place. The so-called internationally recognized government in Libya is actually not in the capital of Tripoli but is operating out of Tobruk in the eastern part of the country. They in fact were installed objectively by the EU and the US as a result of the war of regime change that was waged some four years ago. It would have been great to have the same political elements in 2011 saying that Libya must resolve its own internal problems and not call in the CIA, the Pentagon and NATO to bomb the country for seven and a half months, to destroy the government, to break down all societal institutions, to in fact create the chaos that exists there now. But we also see the Libya Dawn forces in Tripoli which have driven out the government that is now based in Tobruk also expressing reservations as well. I think this is a new development in relations between these two competing regimes in Libya and the EU, which has sought in many ways to bolster these regimes, which in fact are the by-product of this war that was launched some four years ago.

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RT:Are you surprised that this comment is being so aggressive? Wouldn’t you expect something more diplomatic to try and see the Libyan government working with the EU to solve this problem?

AA: I believe that these political elements in Libya are quite frustrated. The US, the EU pledged in 2011 that they would pour tremendous amounts of aid into the Libyan post-Gaddafi dispensation. That has not happened. The entire social and political situation has deteriorated there. We also have now the intervention of the Islamic State which has taken over certain towns in the eastern part of the country as well as in the south. I think its disillusionment, it’s a sign of frustration by the same political elements that were installed by the West saying that “No, you cannot come back at this point and create a greater crisis.” If they begin to sink and destroy these vessels that are transporting refugees, it’s only going to create a worse situation not only for the people in North Africa but also in Southern Europe. Their main concern is to keep Africans, Arabs and South Asians out of Europe…

RT:What do you think the reaction of the EU would be?

AA: They have to take that into consideration. If there is any resistance on a part of any of the desperate political elements in Libya towards this EU initiative it could cause political problems inside of Europe itself. There is a lot of anti-immigrant forces that are gaining political strength in various European countries and this is a response to these political contradictions that are going on right now within the EU. But these countries have to take responsibility; they have to own up to what they’ve done in regard to their policies along with the US in Libya and in other areas throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.