Unified action needed to end Libya chaos

22 April 2015

More support is needed to help Libya’s neighbours

Within a week, Libya has seen more than 800 migrants die in a single attempted crossing of the Mediterranean and the execution of around 30 Ethiopian Christians, which has been claimed by the jihadist militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis).

The incidents are the latest in a long line of tragic events connected to the country’s ongoing problems with people trafficking and militant Islam.

Both issues have thrived in Libya’s increasingly chaotic environment and it is likely that this will continue for some time.

While the UN has made positive statements about progress toward a peace deal between the country’s two warring governments, behind the scenes there are signs that both sides are, in fact, preparing for a period of more intense conflict.

In February, representatives from Libya’s Tripoli-based government, travelled to Ukraine and the former Libyan foreign minister and representative of the Tobruk-based government, Mohamed Abdulaziz, travelled to Moscow.

Both trips were allegedly to boost military relations and acquire arms.

More recently, on 13 April, Jordan’s King Abdullah II pledged support for Libya after meeting with the head the Tobruk government’s armed forces, Khalifa Haftar.

The ongoing war and the lack of security in Libya’s remote regions has meant that efforts by international institutions to secure Libya’s borders have ended with failure.

Future efforts are likely to remain challenged, but progress is not impossible. If support for Libya’s neighbours is increased, including the provision of training and technology closer monitoring of border activities, it should help to restrict the activities of both jihadists and smugglers within the country.

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