Connect with us

Expert Reviews

How Credible Is The European Union (EU) With Regard To Libya? OpEd

The EU has not been able to take a forceful position on Libya or provide meaningful strategies for de-escalation given France’s contradictory position to the majority of the other member states.

Published

on

Recently, a senior US diplomat accused European Union (EU) of not doing enough to end violations of a UN arms embargo by countries such as Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.

S-400 vs Rafale: Turkey to deploy Russian S-400 Missile to counter French Rafale Jets

David Schenker, the assistant secretary for Near East Affairs at the US Department of State, said that Europeans were proud about their naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea known as Operation IRINI, carried out to support and enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, but their naval interdictions had been limited to Turkey.

“The only interdictions that they [EU] are doing is of Turkish military material that they’re sending to Libya. Nobody is interdicting Russian aircraft, nobody is interdicting Emirati aircraft, nobody is interdicting the Egyptians,” Schenker said.

The Turkish military assistance for the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya is widely regarded as a game-changer in the conflict. Ankara’s deployment of air defense systems, armed drones and military advisers to support the GNA has drastically shifted the dynamics of the Libyan conflict.

Despite support from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, France and Russia, warlord Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) militias were driven out of the outskirts of the capital Tripoli and continue to suffer territorial losses.

The fighting has now moved from Tripoli to Sirte and south-central Libya. The GNA forces are fighting the LNA in Sirte, the gateway to the east of the country and oil fields. The UN-backed government seems determined to take control of the oil and gas fields in the area around Sirte, the so-called “oil crescent”, which is home to 60% of Libya’s hydrocarbon resources.

The present circumstances are also a result of the EU’s failure to establish a meaningful policy to find a fair and sustainable political solution. France’s behaviour, for instance, is a glaring example of this. Although Paris officially recognizes the GNA as Libya’s legitimate government, it also sides with Haftar by providing him with key political support and military aid.

Recently, Paris suspended its role in Operation Sea Guardian, accusing Turkey of violating an arms embargo against Libya. It comes weeks after France claimed that Turkish ships targeted a French warship in the Mediterranean, although a subsequent NATO investigation did not support France’s allegations that two Turkish frigates harassed the French warship Courbet.

According to a POLITICO report, only eight out of 30 NATO-member states were eager to openly back France in its criticism about the Courbet incident. Most prominent was the lack of open support from the US and the UK, with especially Boris Johnson making it clear [8] that he did not give much credibility to Paris’s view.

The US clearly does not seem at ease with France falling on the same side with Russia in Libya while Washington views Ankara’s involvement in Libya as a way to curb the increasing Russian involvement there.

Apparently, France has politically cooperated with the UAE in supporting Haftar for years now. For a long time, the French approach towards the Libyan conflict was to give this war a chance to see whether Haftar could win it.

Although it became clear that capturing the capital by force was not feasible, the French government still continued to back Haftar diplomatically and militarily. Instead of examining its policy that has generated disastrous results in Libya, the French government persists in its current path, still seeking to isolate Turkey internationally while at the same time remaining silent about the Emirati and Russian interventions in Libya.

As a result, until now the EU has not been able to take a forceful position on Libya or provide meaningful strategies for de-escalation given France’s contradictory position to the majority of the other member states. This surely influences the EU’s policy preferences, considering that it uses consensus-based policy-making procedures, and as such, has reduced the options at Europe’s disposal to remaining strong or aggravating the already deteriorating conditions in Libya.

Despite France’s accusation, Turkey has so far assumed a justifiable position in Libya since Ankara is the only actor whose presence in the country is legal under international law. There is a formal security partnership between Turkey and the UN-backed government. Besides, Turkey’s support for the GNA is seen as a very positive step by many Libyan people.

According to a Financial Times report, a senior European diplomat stated that Turkey prevented the fall of Tripoli. Without Turkey’s intervention, it would have been a humanitarian disaster.

The absence of the EU and the US leaderships in Libya has allowed a dangerous international confrontation to deepen.

Looking ahead, the EU must push for a multilateral approach on the conflict in Libya, making the efforts of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) more credible, and reassure all EU partners about the sincerity of supporting the UN-led peace process, which might bring genuine and long-lasting stability to the country.

Otherwise, the crisis in Libya could deepen and lead to a major humanitarian catastrophe with spillover effects beyond Libya and its environs, the consequences of which would not affect Libya alone, but also its neighbours in Africa and Europe.

Ferhat Polat is a researcher at the TRT World Research Centre. Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the EurAsian Times.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

FEATURED

INDIA-CHINA INDIA-CHINA
Asia Pacific11 hours ago

China Planned Galwan Valley Clash Right After It Felt Embarrassed At Doklam – Experts

With a raging border conflict with India, a cold war with the US that has resulted in sanctions and trade...

SUBMARINE-PAKISTAN SUBMARINE-PAKISTAN
Featured12 hours ago

After Rafales, India Could Work With France On ‘Stealth Submarine’ Project

In a boost to ‘Make in India’ Ministry of Defence (MoD) has finally set the ball rolling on the tender...

china-hong-kong china-hong-kong
Featured19 hours ago

China Trying To Convert Taiwan Into Next Hong Kong – Taiwan FM

China is trying to turn democratic Taiwan into another Hong Kong, the island’s foreign minister warned Tuesday as he met...

INDIA-CHINA INDIA-CHINA
Featured20 hours ago

Why Chinese Drones Could Be A Nightmare For India Despite Best Of Radars and Fighter Jets?

China is one of the biggest manufacturer and exporters of UAVs. People's Liberation Army (PLA) widely used UAV, the GJ-2...

INDIAN-ARMY INDIAN-ARMY
Asia Pacific20 hours ago

Indian Army Must Be Ready To Fight Chinese Troops, Freezing Temperatures To Keep LAC Safe During Winters

The Indian Army is preparing for the long haul in eastern Ladakh while the disengagement process is underway. The Indian...

Defence-Budget Defence-Budget
Featured1 day ago

DRDO, Indian Defence Firms To Benefit Big Time With India’s “Self-Imposed Embargo” On Arms Import

Surprising everyone in the morning of Sunday, 9th August, the Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh announced a self-imposed embargo on...

rafale-jets rafale-jets
Featured2 days ago

Rafale Jets Prepare For Action Against China; Practices Air-To-Ground Bombings

With India-China tensions soaring, Indian Rafale jets are reportedly rehearsing night flying in the mountainous region of Himachal Pradesh with...

US-Missile-Defense US-Missile-Defense
Americas2 days ago

How Russia Used A Combination Of SU-57 & SU-35 Jets To Outgun American F-35s?

The Russian news agency, TASS, citing its sources, recently reported that Russia has conducted an experiment on the use of...

LASER-WEAPONS LASER-WEAPONS
Americas2 days ago

US Tests High-Energy Laser Weapons From Sea; Where Does India Stand IN DEWs?

Laser-based or microwave-based high-power DEWs (Direct Energy Weapons) can easily incapacitate almost all ariel targets like drones, missiles and other...

india-china india-china
Featured3 days ago

After Galwan, Himachal Could Be Next Big Issue In India-China Border Dispute?

The Indian state of Himachal Pradesh which shares a 240-kilometer border with China has come up with new plans to...

Advertisement