EU TO LAUNCH MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST MIGRANT-SMUGGLERS IN LIBYA
In the past week, over 1,000 migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea while being smuggled from Libya to southern Europe. The most recent event, which occurred early Sunday morning, resulted in the deaths of more than 800 men, women, and children after an over capacity fishing vessel capsized with half of the passengers locked in the below deck cabin. These terrible events led to an emergency EU meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, where interior and foreign ministers decided on increasing maritime patrols, broadening search-and-rescue guidelines, and launching “civil-military” action against the networks of human traffickers in Libya. While the details of these operations have not been specified, one objective of the civil-military operations is to capture and destroy the ships being used by the traffickers.
Although the military operations appear to be a sound way to address the root cause of migrant trafficking stemming from Libya, many EU officials remain unconvinced that the EU will be able to take meaningful action. Latvian Interior Minister Richards Kozlovskis asked “How can it be done? It’s not so easy this civil-military operation. We’re talking of the territorial waters of third countries” while another senior EU official said “The idea of surgical strikes on traffickers is not very serious. Do they know enough about the traffickers to mount a military operation?” As the EU is placing emphasis on dissolving the human trafficking organizations responsible for sending hundreds of migrants to their deaths, the general public’s main complaint has been that the EU’s lackluster search-and-rescue response contributed to the steep death toll. It will be interesting to see how the European Union responds in the coming weeks as “there are thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East waiting in the chaos of Libya to board unseaworthy vessels bound for Europe.”
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