by Nicholas Krohley
Monday, 25
July 2022
Analysis
11:30

Libya will soon be the EU’s biggest problem

A food crisis is creating a new refugee crisis
by Nicholas Krohley
Refugees are Europe’s future. Photo by Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Across Africa, the threats of population growth, resource scarcity, and conflict are endemic. Vast population movements have already occurred as a result. To date, the dominant trend has been sweeping rural-to-urban migration within the continent, as people flee the countryside for new horizons in teeming mega-cities like Lagos and Kinshasa, as well as dozens of ‘smaller’ cities with overwhelming growth rates like Luanda, Niamey, Kampala, and Dakar.

National governments, NGOs, and multinational organisations are striving to manage urban sprawl, stabilise rural areas, and create economic opportunity. Yet the fundamentals are insurmountable. There is no prospect of stabilisation across broad swathes of Africa’s rural interior. The militant networks and environmental stresses that wreak havoc across the Sahel are growing in power. Nor is there any prospect of African cities sustaining double-to triple-digit growth rates year after year. Demographic growth rates may have peaked a decade ago, but net growth is simply overwhelming.

Vladimir Putin’s deliberate disruption of global food supplies via the war on Ukraine is adding to an already dangerous conflagration. A food security catastrophe is imminent, and large-scale migration across the Mediterranean will be the inevitable result. In the months to come, the only open question is how far these migratory flows will dwarf those seen over the past decade, and the scale of the attendant human suffering.

In securing Europe’s southern flank, what can be done? The stabilisation of international food supplies is paramount, but will take time. In the interim, an essential step is to bring stability to Libya. Since NATO’s 2011 intervention to remove Gaddafi, Libya has been in chaos: the undisputed centre of gravity for illegal migration across the Mediterranean, a playground for international mercenaries, and a staging area and operational springboard for a host of terrorist networks.

At present, Libya is divided. Rival governments compete for legitimacy. Foreign mercenaries like Russia’s notorious Wagner Group run amok. The country’s vast energy sector is paralysed. The rule of law is compromised, enabling black marketeering by networks engaged in human trafficking, terrorism, and narcotics. The United Nations-backed government in Tripoli is neither transparent nor accountable. The current status of Libya poses an extraordinary latent risk to European security — which, if unresolved, will lead to catastrophe as African migration patterns shift.

The United Nations is a process-oriented institution, as distinct from being results-oriented. Its processes have failed to achieve results in Libya, as they have failed elsewhere time and again. Faced with the continuing chaos, Libya’s political institutions have looked to resolve their own problems. Earlier this year, they chose a new Prime Minister to stabilise the country and lead it to national elections. Their choice — the former Interior Minister Fatih Bashagha — understands the dangers posed by illegal migration and is on record as working to resolve the problem.

The incumbent prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, has refused to cede control. Instead of working toward Libya’s future, he has turned increasingly to Moscow for support. In a move that should be of great concern in European capitals, however, the United Nations has continued openly to support him, beholden as ever to continuity of process.

In Europe, unity of focus and action came too late to prevent disaster in Ukraine. Europe cannot afford to mount another retroactive, post-crisis campaign on its southern flank. The United Nations is supporting a failed prime minister who is clinging to power in pursuit of his own personal interests, while colluding in increased Russian influence on the ground. When migratory flows escalate, Europe cannot rely on his good faith or his competency in managing a crisis. Now is the time for decisive, forward looking action in Libya, to support a Libyan solution to Libya’s long-running challenges. This is an essential step to manage and mitigate the dangers that loom on the horizon.

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CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
17 days ago

Are ‘we’ seriously expected to help? When the EU (in the guise of France) are wilfully facilitating the invasion of our ‘sceptered isle’ by Sinbad & Co, whilst simultaneously throttling all legitimate cross Channel traffic.

Peter B
Peter B
17 days ago

Exactly as the UK Home Office do with legal immigration. Doing things the correct, legal way gets slower, less efficient and more expensive with each passing year.

Louis Morrissey
Louis Morrissey
16 days ago

Yes. This is so important to European security in fact, that a coalition of European nations, Including France and the UK should just invade Libya. All other solutions have been tried and failed. A quick and brutally efficient occupation of the entire nation followed by the installation of a pro-European strongman leader with European military support. Everyone should realise this is the only solution. But, because the modern world is irrational, and we hold more importance with notions that it is taboo and horrifying for Europeans to once again be conquering parts of Africa, Europe will fail to act, and the unrelenting stream of migrants will flow, sans barriers. A sad fate for a continent so rich in culture and history, yet paralysed by the horrors of ww2 into losing faith in its foundations and existence.

Al N
Al N
18 days ago

Meanwhile, EU countries permit human trafficking of illegal immigrants from their sovereign territories. Can’t complain that migration from Africa is high if you turn a blind eye…

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
18 days ago
Reply to  Al N

I would say that the EU is the EU’s biggest problem. Closely followed by Russia/Ukraine, Africa, the Middle East/Turkey, Brexit, Hungary and Poland, to name just a few.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
17 days ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

In other words, Everything in the World is EU’s problem?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
17 days ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Well those are all problems that directly impinge on the EU with regard to geo-politics, energy and mass migration. But, as you suggest, the EU also has a predilection for getting involved in problems all over the world via its various representatives and missions.

Alixa Ben
Alixa Ben
15 days ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Or the EU is the World’s problem.. At the moment the EU is tottering, at the Brink. Write On.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
17 days ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

But apart from that…

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
17 days ago

Build the wall.

D Glover
D Glover
17 days ago
Reply to  Mike Michaels

The Mediterranean and the Channel are better than walls; they are moats. What is lacking is the political will to stop people crossing these moats, or return them if they do.
The population growth figures for Africa are terrifying. Nigeria alone is producing enough people to overwhelm Europe. Given the dismal quality of politicians in our generation there aren’t any leaders with the will to do what is needed.

Su Mac
Su Mac
17 days ago

Sounds like someone shilling for the “regime changers” to me. Didn’t we already try that?
I am genuinely interested in how a situation of both not enough resources and population growth have arisen concurrently (I am not talking about the last couple of years, this must be a longer trend.)
Thoughts?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
17 days ago
Reply to  Su Mac

In answer to your question:
”We keep feeding them and they keep breeding them’.
The same applies to the welfare classes of the West.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
17 days ago
Reply to  Su Mac

The FAO provided an analysis of why Africa had become a net food importer in a 2011 paper and explained it broadly thus:
“That Africa has become a net importer of food and of agricultural products, despite its vast agricultural potential, is puzzling. Using data mainly for the period 1960-2007, this report seeks to explain Africa’s food-trade deficit since the mid-1970s. The core finding is that population growth, low and stagnating agricultural productivity, policy distortions, weak institutions and poor infrastructure are the main reasons.”

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
16 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

um did they not boot all the local farming experts out and indulge in vast governmental corruption whilst taking zero responsibility for unbridled population growth etc etc. Gated Europe is not far away and the 4 horsemen are getting their fancy dress together….

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
17 days ago
Reply to  Su Mac

Free market capitalism would solve the problem, but we can’t have any more of that, can we?