TRIPOLI/BERLIN | | libyenitalien

TRIPOLI/BERLIN (Own report) - Sea rescuers, critical observers and experts are warning against the EU's plan to reinforce Libya's Coast Guard. Last weekend, sea rescuers announced they would file a lawsuit against the coast guard for allegedly leaving three people behind on the high seas in a disabled dinghy. A woman and a child died a miserable death. Already in June, the United Nations had imposed sanctions on several of the EU's Libyan cooperation partners - including the coast guard commander in Zawiya, the leader of a militia, accused of using firearms to sink migrant boats. Experts warn that by transforming civil war militias into coast guard units rather than disarming them, the EU is actually rewarding the armed militias and undermining the officially aspired reconstruction of the Libyan state. In the meantime, initial signs of opposition to the brutal repulsion of refugees are appearing within Italy's Coast Guard: Officers were refusing to follow orders and are voicing their criticism publicly. more…

TRIPOLI/BERLIN/ROME | | libyen

TRIPOLI/BERLIN/ROME (Own report) - A steadily increasing number of casualties in the North African desert and grave violations of international law are flanking the German government's efforts to cordon off the EU from African refugees. Berlin's attempts to seal the Libya-Niger border is forcing refugees to take routes that are more dangerous, causing increasing numbers of deaths in the Sahara. Since Italy and Libya's puppet government in Tripoli have begun to hamper maritime rescue operations off the Libyan coast, a rise in the number of casualties is also feared in the Mediterranean. At the same time, the German government is supporting the internment of refugees in Libyan detention camps, notorious for their brutal and even murderous treatment. "Humanitarian standards" need to be imposed on those camps, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says, and calls on the services of the United Nations' Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UNHCR. These activities combine to create a multiple anti-refugee system, including two rings of barriers along with a network of camps. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - Berlin's efforts to influence developments in Libya are on the brink of failure. The "Government of National Accord," installed in Tripoli on behalf of the United Nations by the German diplomat Martin Kobler, is on the verge of disintegration. Following an Islamist militia coup attempt in October, its "Prime Minster" Fayez al-Sarraj, the West's main partner, was barely able to retain his position against insurgents within his ranks, earlier this year. Last fall, his strongest opponent, General Khalifa Haftar, who is cooperating with the elected Libyan parliament, has conquered Libya's most important oil shipment port and seems to be able to extend his power base. In case al-Sarraj and the "Government of National Accord" cannot hold their ground, Berlin and the EU would not only loose their main Libyan partner for warding off refugees. They would also loose ground in Libya to Russia's advantage, which had recently begun to cooperate with Haftar. As in Syria, this cooperation is based on a common struggle against Islamist militias. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - Five years after NATO's aggression against Libya, a British parliamentary committee has issued a damning assessment of that war and its alleged causes. The allegation, Muammar Gadhafi was planning to massacre the people of Benghazi and that this must be prevented was the main pretext used by western powers for their intervention in March 2011. Internationally renowned experts found no credible evidence to substantiate this allegation, therefore it is probably false, concluded the parliamentary committee. Foreign interests, in fact, had played the decisive role. Referring to French intelligence officers, the report points out that French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for example, was interested in obtaining access to a greater share of Libyan oil, increasing French political influence in North Africa and demonstrating France's military power. The collapse of the Libyan state and the rise of militant Islamists were to be expected from the outset. Berlin can also not be exonerated from accusations. While officially rejecting the war - not least of all for reasons of German-French rivalry - Berlin actually dispatched more than a hundred German soldiers to NATO's headquarters commanding the war on Libya. The war resulted in the economic, social and political collapse of that country. Libya is on the verge of becoming consumed by a protracted full-scale civil war. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - Berlin is energetically insisting on the appointment of a government of national unity in Libya in preparation for expanding two Bundeswehr missions. The future government, according to internal documents, should extend an "invitation" to the EU, to expand its Mediterranean anti-refugee defense all the way onto Libyan territory. It should set up armed forces that will be trained also by the Bundeswehr to go to war against the "Islamic State" (IS/Daesh). The USA, Great Britain, and France recently began operations ranging from air strikes to Special Forces operations, expanding the war against Daesh to Libya. However, without the ground troops, that the future Libyan government is supposed to organize, there can be no durable victory, according to military experts. While US media is speculating on the establishment of a pro-western regime in Tripoli, with the enthronement of a king, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is strongly insisting on the UN-constituted government of national unity being installed in office. Experts are already predicting its failure. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - Libya's government has resolutely rejected the EU's plans for a military operation aimed at terminating the transit of refugees to Europe. No ventures will be allowed that place the country's sovereignty into question, announced a spokesperson of the internationally recognized Libyan government, located in Tobruk. Monday evening, the EU decided to make a four-step military mission to Libya's coastline, which, following an initial phase of "reconnaissance," the EU forces would begin regular inspections of vessels, to then ultimately prepare the way for military operations on Libyan territory. Those operations threaten to lead to armed conflicts with the Libyan branch of the "Islamic State" (IS), which, according to reports, has a strong business interest in refugee smuggling. Thanks to the West having laid the groundwork by overthrowing Libya's long-time ruler Moammar al Gadhafi, the IS was able to establish itself in Darnah, East Libya, as was reported in the spring of 2011. The easiest and surest option of shutting down the refugee smuggling business - permitting the refugees legal entry into the EU - is being contemplated neither in Berlin nor in Brussels. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - In the prelude to an EU "mission" to Libya, German government advisors are insisting on stronger German engagement in that country. The country is socially highly fractured and "instable," according to a recent study published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Many militias are still in tact, with no central command structure, and with some waging fierce battles against others. These conditions are not in Germany's economic and security policy interests. In fact, not only are there anti-western Islamist militias operating on Libyan territory, who have extended their range of activities to Northern Mali and Algeria, constituting a long term threat to western hegemony over the area. The country has, at the same time, resumed being Germany's largest non-European oil supplier, and thereby, taken on a prominent significance in Germany's energy policy. The BASF subsidiary Wintershall, with headquarters in Kassel, produces a major portion of its oil in Libya, and is interested in taking over RWE Dea, also active in Libya. Battles between rival militias caused an interruption of Wintershall's production already last year. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - The German Minister of the Economy, Philipp Rösler, will visit Tripoli this month to acquire the largest share possible of Libya's restructured economy. Following the overthrow of Gadhafi, the country's business relationships will be completely reoriented. Particularly France, Great Britain, and the USA, the main military belligerents against Gadhafi, ushering the new government into power, are expecting extensive shares. Germany is trying not to lose its current strong position - particularly in the raw materials sector - and possibly obtain new advantages. At the end of September, the German Ministry of the Economy presented a paper entitled "10 Point Action Plan - Libya," staking German claims on shares. Germany could make an "important contribution" to the "reconstruction" of the country, the document states. This would necessitate the "immediate" initiation of "talks with the new Libyan leadership." German enterprises began already making their contacts to Benghazi back in July - when Benghazi was the capital of the insurgents. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - Ten years after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe is demanding clarification of the involvement of German authorities in crimes committed in the framework of the so-called "war on terror" and their cover-up. "Systematic violations of human rights" were committed, as the CIA abducted suspects and subsequently interrogated them under torture, Thomas Hammarberg recalls. Governments "across the European continent" were involved in these operations as well as in the attempts to keep them covered-up - notably also Berlin. It has recently become known that Libya had also participated in theses abduction operations. For decades, Tripoli has been a cooperation partner of German repressive authorities and has been called upon for interrogations of prisoners under torture. Some of these prisoners had cooperated with western secret services, including the BND, in the 1980s in Afghanistan fighting against the Soviet army. Today, the West is again using these former partners of the Afghanistan conflict, as ground troops in its war against Moammar al Gadhafi. Over the past decade, the West had handed these former partners over to the Libyan government to be tortured. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - German government advisors and publicists are suggesting that the war on Libya can serve as a model for future western military interventions. According to their analyses, the war against Libya is following the example of what the West considers as its successful war against Yugoslavia, where NATO served as the air force of an almost entirely indigenous contingent of ground forces. Mistakes, like those in Afghanistan, where the West is engaged with its own ground troops, are thereby being avoided, according to an analysis published by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. In this way, money was saved at home and the lives of western soldiers were spared. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) advises that in the case of Libya, however, the forces operating on the ground - the Transitional National Council and its militias - must be brought to a tactically clever exercise of their newly conquered power, to prevent that their putsch plunges the country into a long-term civil war à la Iraq,. This think tank makes concrete proposals for stabilizing the regime brought to power by the war. more…