The “Financial Times” newspaper, in a report, shed light on the complex crises caused by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and their impact is still present today despite his death in 2011 after a popular revolution that toppled him.
In the report prepared by “Neil Menshi” on the repercussions of Gaddafi’s death on the African continent, which she is still experiencing, it was stated that a woman called Precious in 2017 and suggested that she leave her hometown in northern Nigeria and work as a seamstress in Italy and help her family from her income.
Precious has seen on social media the well-being of Prime Time Zone in Europe and what they send to their families. The journey was simple, the woman assured her, and she would then be in a position to help her family.
Precious remembers that this woman “tricked me” and added, speaking from Benin, Nigeria’s fourth largest city, and “suffered”.
Instead of an easy trip, 22-year-old Precious was exchanged from one broker to another in Nigeria to Niger and then put into a Toyota Hilux with 25 Prime Time Zone for a three-day trip in the desert.
She was beaten, starved, and others died on the journey. But the real suffering did not begin until the Toyota truck reached the Libyan border.
Precious, along with other desert countries, was forced into prostitution, she was not allowed to leave the comfort home, and she was humiliated and starved. “Libya is a bad country, and there are no laws there,” she said.
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Precious escaped in 2019 and returned on a UN commercial plane. What is remarkable about everything she said is, “They say that since he died, everything has changed.” It meant Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed after the revolution in 2011.
The writer adds that stories of abuse and brutality are well-known and shared among hundreds of thousands of migrants who crossed through Libya in the decade following his death and the country plunged into a state of civil war.
Libya has played a starting point for migrants wanting to reach Europe
Libya has long played a starting point for migrants wishing to reach Europe, but their numbers increased dramatically after his overthrow and led to the rise of right-wing populist movements opposed to immigration in Europe.
10 years later, the unintended consequences of ousting the 42-year-old ruler of Libya, whose rule was marked by corruption and cruelty, are still evident far beyond Libya’s borders.
There are more than 700,000 migrants stranded today in Libya, according to statistics from the International Rescue Committee, which described the journey that Precious had to take “the most dangerous migration route in the world.”
Ten years later, the unintended consequences of ousting the 42-year-old ruler of Libya, whose rule was marked by corruption and cruelty, are still evident far beyond Libya’s borders.
It is evident from the deaths of migrants in rubber boats in the Mediterranean, slave camps and brothels in which the bodies of migrants are sold, and the breakdown of security in the Sahel and Sahara countries, which led to the deaths of thousands and the displacement of millions, and entangled France in what became called “the eternal war.”
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“Libya has become the weak point of all the countries surrounding it,” said Mathias Honkby, director of the Open Society Initiative’s financial office in West Africa. “Mali, Niger, Chad, and all countries suffer from problems due to the lack of stability in Libya.”
The writer comments that the impact of Libya has been devastating, as violence and chaos have engulfed it and since the disputed elections in 2014, each competing faction has drawn its own territory and fiefdoms, at a time when criminal and smuggling gangs have exploited the weakness of the state.
He announced the formation of a national unity government under the auspices of the United Nations in March with the aim of ending the civil war that affected the countries surrounding Libya and ridding them of mercenaries brought in by the warring powers from Chad, Sudan, Syria and Russia.
The government is supposed to prepare this country for elections in December.
Last week, the foreign ministers of the surrounding countries from Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and Niger met to discuss the situation and called for the exit of mercenaries.
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said: “Libya is the first victim of these irregular elements,” and warned of the dangers of Libya’s neighbors becoming a victim if the exit of mercenaries is not handled in a transparent and orderly manner.
Yovan Guishio, a specialist in the Sahel region at the University of Kent in Britain, believes that the killing of Gaddafi was not the cause of the problems in the Sahel region, where the poorest communities in the world live and witnessing instability, but rather it was an accelerator of instability, or so it should be thought.
“These rebellions in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali were ready to ignite and just wanted someone to pull the trigger,” he said. “Libya was the catalyst.”
Mali, for example, suffers from Tuareg and jihadist rebellions over the years, but the fighters who experienced the war in Libya and invaded northern Mali were equipped with Gaddafi’s weapons, which they transferred from his stores and money, as they took control of the northern region.
It led to France’s intervention in 2013 to prop up a powerless government in Bamako. The French forces are still there, fighting a tough war and a threat to Emmanuel Macron’s chances of winning the 2022 elections.
The leaders of the Sahel countries used Libya to justify a policy of repression against their population. Libya’s role as a driver of insecurity has been exaggerated.
The jihadists of Al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” have established deep roots for them, so that the area has become one of the most important areas of activity for the two organizations. The jihadists in neighboring Burkina Faso were inspired by the example of Mali and launched their insurgency that tore apart the country’s security.
The jihadists were able to exploit the ethnic tensions in the two countries and took advantage of the governance vacuum left by the central governments in marginalized areas in their favour. Guishio of the University of Kent commented that the leaders of the Sahel states used Libya to justify a policy of repression towards their population. Libya’s role as a driver of insecurity has been exaggerated.
The same words were expressed by Corinne Duvaka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch, saying that “tying Libya to the lack of security in the Sahel region is exaggerated” and “most of the weapons deployed now come from attacks by jihadists against security forces in countries in the region or they are bought from arms markets.” available.
But what no one disputes is the impact of the fall of Gaddafi on the migration movement from the Sahara towards Europe. In the last years of his rule, the former dictator played the role of the regulator of immigration, as he controlled the waves of immigration in a way that served his interests and helped him to obtain concessions from Europe and Italy.
By the end of his rule, smugglers and human smuggling gangs filled the void. According to a report published by the International Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, “the smuggling economy has been able to expand its capacity and logistical space and operate more freely than ever before and without fear of retribution.”
And the European Union expanded into the Sahara, giving Niger 1.6 billion euros between 2016-2020 to stop migrants from traveling through the traditional routes known for centuries. Which prompted them to search for dangerous lines in which thousands died.
Former Chadian dictator Idriss Déby
Former Chadian dictator Idriss Deby faced an ongoing rebellion, most of which originated in Libya, and the rebels who eventually killed him acted as mercenaries for the forces of warlord Khalifa Haftar, who controls eastern Libya. The rebels appeared, who were preparing an attack on the capital, N’Djamena, where Déby was killed while trying to stop them.
The former president has been in power since 1990 as a result of French and European support, seeing him as a buffer against the jihadists.
“A lot has happened since 2011,” says Daniel Azinga, a fellow at the US Department of Defense’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
The fall of Muammar Gaddafi
He referred to the fall of Gaddafi after the NATO intervention in Libya led by France and Britain, at a time when Joseph Biden opposed the decision, as he was Vice President Barack Obama.
But his death left a void and plunged the country into chaos. In a 2016 interview, Obama described the decision to intervene as one of his “worst mistakes”, citing a failure in post-Gaddafi planning. “My question was: He’s gone, won’t the country disintegrate,” he said. And what will happen next? Will it not become a base for extremists to grow?”
After Qaddafi’s fall, the European Union subsequently spent billions on security, development, help protect borders in West and Central African countries, and to prevent an influx of migrants.
The jihadists exploited Gaddafi’s arsenal of weapons to expand into the desert countries, and David Lockhead, a researcher at the Small Arms Survey, said: “Today, the largest stockpile in the world is out of control.”
The West was not ready until after Gaddafi’s fall, and the European Union subsequently spent billions of euros on security, development, help in protecting borders in West and Central African countries, and to prevent the flow of migrants.
France spent 900 million euros last year to support its “Barcan” campaign, as it deployed 5,000 soldiers to the Sahel. The price for the fall of Gaddafi was not paid more than the Sahel countries, where hundreds of thousands were displaced and killed, and the rebels and mercenaries returned to northern Mali after working with Gaddafi.
“There were all these concerns (in 2011), and what are you going to do with the 14,000-15,000 armed men who came to your area who are your citizens?” said Besa Williams, who served as the US ambassador to Niger. And “creating a wave of Prime Time Zone who rushed towards the countries of the Sahel and Sahara, and these countries were not ready.” Northern Mali is facing a Tuareg rebellion, but what made it strong, according to Williams, is its transformation into an opportunistic rebellion linked to jihadists.
And “I may have brought into Prime Time Zone’s minds that local rebellions and local grievances could be strengthened by these financially and militarily equipped groups,” and “for many, the attractiveness of sources, fighters and training was hard to resist,” and over time they became associated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The report pointed to the end of Deby, who celebrated on April 20 his victory in an unfair election and heard the sounds of shooting in the capital, N’Djamena, to celebrate his victory, but he was dead hundreds of miles away in the north after a confrontation with the rebels who entered the country from Libya.
Western powers considered Déby their main ally in the war against Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, and even became an important element in France’s jihadist war in the Sahel.
Chad’s stability was important to Paris, where in 2019 it sent military helicopters to strike the rebels who were advancing towards the capital, but the French did not intervene when the Front for Change and Accord advanced from Libya this year.
Azinga believes, “It is not possible to consider the transformation of the rebellion situation in northern Chad without looking at the Libyan civil war,” and “the current instability and uncertainty in Libya, which was a direct result of Gaddafi’s death and the ongoing civil war that opened up all kinds of opportunities for those who want to become mercenaries and rebel factions.” And “Libya remained part of the stability in Chad.
Deby said in 2011: Look, if Gaddafi goes, we will see a lot of problems. And I think he knew what that meant to him,” Zinga said.
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