all i know for sure is that there is a proxy battle here between erdogan and putin

EU agrees to new military mission against Libya
Peter Schwarz, WSWS, Feb 21 2020

The foreign ministers of all 27 EU countries agreed to launch a new military mission in Libya on Monday. In order to enforce the arms embargo agreed in Berlin in January, the EU intends to deploy warships and planes in the region together with satellites. The military operation will not only escalate the war that has devastated Libya since the military alliance led by FUKUS bombed the Mediterranean country in 2011 and murdered its long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi. The intervention also threatens to expand into an all-out war between the major and regional powers backing the rival militias in Libya. The German government had invited the 16 powers and parties involved in the Libya conflict to a conference in Berlin on Jan 19 where they signed a 55-point plan that included a ceasefire, compliance with the UN arms embargo, the withdrawal of foreign armies and mercenaries and the demobilisation of the various militias fighting one other. The WSWS warned at the time that the conference was pursuing imperialist goals, and was “only the preliminary step to a military occupation of the country.” We compared the Libya conference to the Berlin Congo conference of 1884, which played a major role in deepening Africa’s colonial domination and exacerbated tensions between the imperialist powers. These warnings have already been confirmed. The conflict in Libya has only escalated since the Berlin conference, as every party to the war seeks to gain advantage. The agreed ceasefire has been broken more than 150 times, and deliveries of weapons have skyrocketed. Huge quantities of arms have been transported to Libya by ship, plane and over land. Stephanie Williams, the UN special envoy for Libya, said:

The arms embargo is a joke.

Brussels and Berlin have used the situation as an opportunity to advance their interests militarily in the oil-rich country, which is important for access to Africa as a whole. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote in a memo:

If Europe cannot agree to enforce the arms embargo by military means, we run the risk of becoming irrelevant. In that case other powers would continue to shape developments in Libya in a way that does not take our interests into account.

There were disagreements in the EU over the issue of how to prevent warships deployed to the Mediterranean from taking on board shipwrecked refugees, which they are obliged to do under maritime law. A previous EU Mediterranean mission, Operation Sophia, which was originally supposed to combat smugglers and destroy their boats, was discontinued in Sep 2019 after its vessels had helped rescue 730,000 refugees over four years. Austria, Hungary and Italy in particular insisted that this should not happen again. Therefore, the EU agreed to deploy warships in the eastern Mediterranean, where there are hardly any escape routes to Europe, but which is a route for the transport of weapons to Libya. If the warships are nevertheless in a position to rescue refugees, the mission can be stopped immediately. According to the agreement of the EU foreign ministers:

If pull factors regarding migration are identified, the maritime elements will be withdrawn.

“Pull factors” encourage migrants to take to the sea in the hope of being rescued and taken to Europe. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg commented proudly:

There is a basic consensus that what is required is a military mission and not a humanitarian mission.

How the EU intends to stop arms supplies without waging war against NATO allies or key trading partners remains unclear. The most important weapons supplier to the “official” government of Fayez al-Sarraj, which controls the capital city of Tripoli, is Turkey, which in turn arms its allies in Libya by ship across the Mediterranean. Saraj’s main rival, Gen Khalifa Haftar, receives weapons over land from Egypt and via air from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. Haftar is also supported by Russia. According to Spiegel Online, a huge transport plane takes off almost every day from Abu Dhabi heading for Benghazi, where Haftar’s headquarters are located. The Turkish government, which is already in conflict with EU members Greece and Cyprus over gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean, would hardly allow the EU to intervene against Turkish ships. Die Zeit commented:

Without a robust control of suspect shipping by NATO warships in the Mediterranean, the lethal supplies will not be reduced.

The consequences will be even more devastating should the EU shoot down a transport plane supplying Haftar with weapons. Ultimately, the deployment of a new naval mission to the Mediterranean is only a first step in the military occupation of Libya as part of a new “scramble for Africa.” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had already raised this prospect in January, when he told Der Spiegel:

The key issue is to enforce our interests more powerfully, and when necessary in a robust manner. If there is a ceasefire in Libya then the EU must be ready to help implement and monitor this ceasefire, possibly with the use of soldiers, for example as part of an EU mission.

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