North Africa LibyaBlog AnalysisMissions Operations

Shouldn't Europe set up an EUMM / EUBAM Libya?

(BRUSSELS2) The situation in Libya remains unclear almost several weeks after the start of the events. And the situation in certain borders could get out of hand quickly. Many regions escape the “radar” screen of political and media news focused on Benghazi and Misrata. Whether in countries far from the usual traffic routes (Sudan, Niger, Chad) or in closer countries (Tunisia, Egypt) which receive most of the people displaced following the conflict (Libyans or foreign workers), it could therefore be interesting to have “robust” observation posts. Would it not be necessary for the European Union to opt for a more determined and global approach by deploying a civilian mission of observers on the ground near the Libyan borders? The question deserves to be asked today. And it would undoubtedly be more adequate than a EUFOR Libya mission which seems hypothetical.

To do what ?

This mission could have three types of function: observation, control, training.

THEobservation is not always an easy role. But this makes it possible to report live information on the situation in areas that are otherwise poorly covered. Simply having external elements does not remove points of conflict. But it is an important guarantee of calm and, above all, early detection of sources of tension. This function can be useful if a localized or generalized ceasefire is declared, to observe it.

Le control of certain crossing points could also be necessary. We would be here within the full framework of United Nations resolutions 1970 and 1973 on the control of the arms embargo as well as the arrival of mercenaries. It would thus allow us to know more and deny (or confirm) certain persistent rumors.

La training and “construction building” would be the third pole of this mission. It could contribute to the stability of weak regimes like Niger or on the move like Tunisia.

The functions conferred on the mission could vary depending on the countries where the “observers” are placed, or even evolve over time.

In which places?

This deployment could, reasonably (political and practical reasons) be deployed in two main areas: southern Tunisia, western Egypt and eastern Libya (Maghreb), northern Niger and northern Chad (Sahel). In the first deployment, we are more in a stabilization / construction building / training logic. In the second deployment, the control/stabilization/construction building logic prevails.

To be complete, a border deployment should also concern the northern Sudanese and eastern Algerian borders. If from an operational point of view, Algeria would be an interesting country to deploy to, it would be surprising if the government accepted the deployment of European observers.

With whom ?

This mission could be deployed with the assistance of the Arab League in its Maghreb component and with the assistance of the African Union in its Sahel component. Which would have an advantage: involving the African Union which, currently, confronts rather than agrees with European comments. It is not forbidden to think that certain other third countries could join this mission such as the Balkan countries.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).