EPA/Navy Media Content Service/
The two latest incidents off the coast of Libya involved a Turkish cargo ship, a Greek oil tanker and the Libyan military. These dramas prove once again the situation in this part of the Mediterranean is not simply a refugee matter.
As Libya falls deeper into chaos and its political future remains unpredictable, Europe is in danger.
Greece and Turkey cannot control the situation, which is now in the hands of warlords and organised crime.
First of all, there is the huge humanitarian question about the fate of the countless refugees, from all parts of Africa, who are trying to reach Europe’s “promised land”.
It has become clear and more obvious now that Europe cannot absorb the massive arrival of refugees knocking at its door.
Secondly, organised criminal organisations are largely involved in the smuggling of refugees. But that’s not all.
Other trade goods, from drugs to arms and illegal cigarettes, are finding new ways to enter European countries.
Organised crime has many faces since the armed jihadist groups cooperate with Libyan partners, African warlords and possibly European mafias.
But there’s more.
Libya’s ensuing chaos is a direct threat against European security.
The Libyan military forces are trying to protect the new ‘commerce’ through their harbours.
Remember what happened in Somalia? Even though there are not too many similarities, there are many common factors that can be found.
Libya is becoming a warlord state where these criminals prosper and are able to maintain their armies thanks to the smuggling of humans – regardless of whether they are sex slaves or refugees.
This means terrorists can reach European soil disguised as refugees.
This also means a part of the ‘fleet’ now used for the transport of refugees could be transformed into pirate boats. The recent piracy cases reported in this part of the Mediterranean are a worrying turn of events.
Many similar incidents against European boats have been reported in recent months.
There is no one in Libya now who can put an end to this nightmare. In addition, there is evidence that Libyan forces will somehow protect their compatriots.
Since it is difficult to distinguish the legal from the illegal, anything is possible in Libya.
The risk of the Libyan coast transforming into a kind of ‘Mediterranean Somalia’ is very possible.
This part of the Mediterranean already shows signs of a battlefield. And for the first time after decades of peace in the Mediterranean, its waters hide deadly threats.
Since it is no longer a humanitarian issue but a security one, the European Union should elaborate a more accurate policy.