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​‘Terrorist playground’: United international efforts needed now to save Libya

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011).

Published time: August 14, 2014 10:01
Black smoke billows across the sky after a petrol depot was set ablaze during clashes between rival militias near Tripoli's international airport, on the outskirts of the capital, on August 13, 2014. (AFP Photo)

The situation in Libya is drastically degrading. At the moment this country is becoming a failed state, breaking into small domains ruled by warlords with rather murky reputations.

This situation was created due to complex political, military and social reasons. It is evident that we are dealing not with some short-term crisis, but a long-term tendency that was started by the events of 2011.

This is the outcome of some states’ actions. Having put forward the aim of regime change, they did not think about the possible consequences for Libya or for the region as a whole. The “Libya scenario” did not end with military action in Libyan skies, when NATO countries distorted the decisions of the UN Security Council and supported one of the sides in Libya’s internal military conflict. That scenario also includes everything that happened in the country after that.

“Normal nation-building” has failed. A relatively safe country in close proximity to Europe has become a playground for radical Islamists and terrorists. There is no progress in the national dialogue. There are no law enforcement agencies. All the government agencies that matter are paralyzed. There are more human rights violations now than under Colonel Gaddafi. Civilians are killed every day, infrastructure is being destroyed, not even a semblance of order exists, and economic development is absolutely out of the question. The latest parliamentary elections did not help to stabilize the situation. The situation in Tripoli has deteriorated so far that the first session of the new parliament had to be held far from the capital of the country.

A youth walks down the stairs near a hole in the wall of a house at a former Libyan army camp known as Camp 27, in the Libyan capital Tripoli, on August 11, 2014 following reported clashes between rival militias. (AFP Photo / Mahmud Turkia)

It appears that the situation will deteriorate even further. Weapons traffic is already posing a serious threat to the region, boosting extremists and complicating the task of countering the growing influence of terrorist groups.

In this context there is a growing need to work out necessary measures. Unfortunately, to this day, the efficiency of steps taken by the international community to help Libya remains very low. Therefore we should understand that intrusive radical decisions imposed from outside, without paying attention to local conditions, will only lead to more chaos. The same goes for a simple, but wrong, black-or-white presentation of the situation.

The efficiency of international assistance depends on the objectivity of the UN Secretariat’s reports. The same criteria should be applied to all the UN Security Council’s decision-making.

Today the world is following closely the developments in Gaza and Iraq, but the international community still needs to urgently consolidate numerous efforts to help Libya, including important decisions on further activities of the UN Mission in Libya.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.