Libya has been labelled a “nest of terrorists”, as France warns that the country is becoming a hub for terrorism on Europe’s doorstep, and has called on the international community to once again intervene, The Local has reported.
“The south is a sort of hub for terrorist groups where they come to re-supply – including with weapons – and re-organise. In the north, the political and economic centres of the country are now at risk from falling under jihadist control. And Libya is the gateway both to Europe and the Sahara,” said French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian yesterday. “We need to act in Libya and mobilise the international community.”
The minister explained that he wanted to “sound the alarm about the seriousness of the situation in Libya.” French President François Hollande has in the past few weeks spoken of Libya as a “major concern”, but his comments so far appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
It is unclear what action the French government is proposing, as a foreign ministry spokesman, Romain Nadal, stressed that only a political solution could work.
France, along with coalition forces, was instrumental in securing and carrying out actions against Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi’s forces in early 2011, which led to the fall of Gaddafi. France’s then Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy stated in February 2011 “Gaddafi must go”, and in early March recognised the Libyan National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya after meeting with representatives in Paris.
French forces were also the first to undertake airstrikes to enforce a UN mandated no-fly zone amidst concerns over civilian attacks that the UN said “might constitute crimes against humanity,” although they were joined by Britain, Canada, the US and a number of other countries in taking action before the operation was handed to Nato.
Since the operation, the country has been sliding further and further into chaos and civil war as rival factions struggle to take control of the country.
“We are opposed in principle to any military intervention in a country,” Nidhal Ouerfelli, a Tunisian government spokesman said yesterday. “We have seen the experiences of the past and we have seen that military intervention has absolutely not led to the installation of a democratic regime, to the stabilisation of the country,” he continued.
Rene Otayek, a researcher at Bordeaux’s Institute of Political Science, was in agreement: “you have to remember that the chaos in Libya is a direct consequence of the NATO intervention.”
Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has also warned against military intervention, stating that Cairo was “anxious to avoid Libya falling into the hands of terrorists,” while a senior officer in the Chadian army commented “The situation in Libya worries us a lot and especially the presence of jihadists. The more the situation deteriorates, the more worried we become and we are staying very vigilant.”
Libya is “a country on the verge of implosion where there is no authority. The south of Libya is a veritable nest of terrorists: all the forces of evil are gathered there and it’s a real threat to Niger,” Mohamed Ouagaya, a former chief of the nomadic Tuareg people told AFP.