Category: Alerts 2015
- Created on 18 March 2015
- 18 March 2015
Islamic State's horrific mass beheading of 21 Coptic Christians last month forced a reluctant UK media system to return to Libya, scene of saturation news coverage in 2011.
Then, the media lens hovered obsessively over every Libyan government crime – indeed, over every alleged and even predicted crime - in an effort to justify a Nato 'intervention' that was supported by most media and 557 British MPs, with just 13 opposed.
'We have to do something', we were told. The results are summed up by the single fact that 'about 1.8 million Libyans - nearly a third of the country's population - have fled to Tunisia'. Civilians have been 'driven away by random shelling and shooting, as well as shortages of cash, electricity and fuel', with conditions 'only worsening', the New York Times reports.
Today, as many as 1,700 armed gangs are fighting over a country in which at least five governments have tried and failed to restore basic order. Djiby Diop, a 20-year-old from Senegal who spent three months amidst the chaos, explains:
'Everyone in Libya is armed now. Every guy of my age has a gun. If you don't work for them, they shoot you. If you don't give them all your money, they shoot you. Or they shoot you just for fun. Or they will throw you in prison and you have to pay 400 dinars (£200) to get released.'
Or in the words of Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration:
'It's complete anarchy in Libya and it has become very, very dangerous for migrants.'
One consequence is that thousands of Libyan refugees are risking their lives in rough winter seas as they try to reach Italy. The bad weather and small vessels mean the journey, frequently forced at gunpoint, is 'like a death sentence'.
According to the New York Times, the fighting has damaged Libya's oil exports so severely that 'there is now a risk that the country's currency and economy will soon collapse'. Musbah Alkari, manager of the reserves department at the Central Bank of Libya, warns:
'A currency collapse is less than two years away.'
The atrocity by Islamic State terrorists took place in Sirte, a city of 100,000 people that was reduced to a smoking ruin by Nato's terror flyers in 2011. The BBC reported in 2012 that it was 'hard to find a building undamaged by bullets or shells'. Or indeed bombs.