Wikileaks has done it again, this time revealing that the EU is planning to enter Libyan territory, ostentatiously to destroy human smuggling operations with military force.
Last month, Wikileaks released a 6-monthly EU report on Operation Sophia. The report details future steps that will likely be taken, apparently to stop human smuggling activities.
Those of you who have been paying attention to this on-going tragedy will probably recall operation Triton, named for the Roman god of the sea. In a PR move designed to give it a humanitarian spin, it was renamed to operation Sophia– the name of a baby born by a rescued Somali refugee.
The operation involves the seizure of refugee vessels, rescue of refugees and finally the destruction of refugee ships. The intent of the operation is apparently to deter future human smugglers- a strategy that is of questionable efficacy, considering how smugglers use cheap, disposable boats for the dangerous trip.
In the report, the operation is divided into four phases: 1, 2A, 2B and 3. The operation has completed the first two phases, and is currently operating on the high seas.
As observed in the above Wikileaks tweet, the operation focuses on the symptom, refugees, rather than the root cause of the problem: the devastation that the refugees are fleeing from, which Wikileaks had previously revealed to have been caused by US pursuit of regime change in the country. Allowing refugees to congregate on the shores of Libya without food or water while surrounded by jihadists seems like an “out of sight, out of mind” cop-out.
“Migrants are recruited via social media, coaxers or by travel agent services run by smuggling networks outside Libya,” the report notes, implying that refugees were tricked by evil human traffickers into making the dangerous voyage- rather than acknowledging that they truly are desperate beyond comprehension.
In that vein, one solution to the refugee problem according to the report is “a comprehensive package of PSYOPS products targeted at local communities, based on coercive as well as on positive messages.”
Phases 2B And 3: operation from within Libyan territory
The report notes that in order for the EU military to operate within Libyan territorial waters, operation Sophia requires a legitimate Libyan government willing to give the go-ahead.
“From a military perspective, we are ready to move to phase 2B (Territorial Waters) where we can make a more significant impact on the smuggler and traffickers’ business model. However, in order to move into the following phases we need to have a government of national accord with which to engage ”.
Of course, the problem with that plan is that the definition of “legitimate Libyan government” has been rather fluid ever since the death of Muammar Gaddafi five years ago ( which was brought about with NATO support); ISIS provides policing services as human traffickers continue their activities unchallenged, and at least two powerful groups claim to lead the country.
“As a European Union, we must therefore apply diplomatic pressure appropriately to deliver the correct outcome“.
A phase 3 is also mentioned in the report, but remains undefined. Wikileaks believes that it likely refers to deploying ground troops onto Libyan soil.
The problem with moving into Libyan waters and land is that the EU could become further embroiled with Libyan terrorists as its military moves into the roiling mess. An EU strategy paper had previously admitted that plans to move into Libya to “solve” the refugee problem would cause it to clash with terrorists.
The documents fails to claim the presence of ISIS or other extremist group as a reason to intervene in Libya, the raison d’être for US intervention. The documents seem to indicate that it will intervene nonetheless, though refugees and human smugglers are the cited reasons rather than some rogue jihadist.
The report seems to show that its author understands the perception of the average European person, that refugees are seen as a bigger threat than even terrorism, and caters to that mindset to achieve the same objective as the US.
Indeed, EU forces could be “unintentionally” mired in Libya for quite some time, as the report admits that smugglers would likely adapt to the incursion…
“The smugglers will again most likely adapt quickly to the changing situation. The primary concern for smugglers will likely remain to avoid being apprehended so they can continue their illegal activities.”
Sources: Alternet, RT, IB Times, Daily Mail
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