Warships at the limits of the Libyan territorial sea against the Isis

(To Giuseppe Paccione)

By now, the armed coercive action of the international community is increasingly focusing on the absence of a stable government in Libya and its coasts and the links of arms, people and crude trade.

The decision to implement the naval embargo could not be set aside once again, since the control of the sea is a necessary parameter to intervene in the territory of Libya. There are a number of technical and operational problems concerning the use of naval war forces under the flag of the United Nations, as well as the issue of rescuing people who emigrate to Europe.

As is well known, in Libya there is a tendency to make the sea an exclusive domain. Mention should be made of the harassment of the traffic of pirate trade, present along the coastal coast of Libya. The same dictator Gaddafi - today many Italian politicians regret it - ?? had challenged the freedom of the sea, when, for example, it annexed the Gulf of Sirte back in 1973 and, later, proclaimed a ?? 'fishery protection area where, often, many fishing boats flying the Italian flag were subjected to attacks by the Libyan military vessels.

So much so that the United Nations Security Council itself, after the capitulation of the Libyan leader, had considered intervening on the Libyan ports to counter the smuggling of weapons through the 1973 resolution of the 2011, which authorized the blockade of merchant ships, which they were involved in the traffic. As with the 2146 resolution, adopted a few years ago, it was decided to stop the smuggling of oil from Cyrenaica, with which the current ISIS was trying to finance itself.

Here we understand the reason why, from the beginning of March, the maneuvers of some warships of the Italian Navy were started in the international sea, close to the territorial waters of Libya. These operations are related to the current crisis, but also to increase the safety of the area, whose interests of Italy are broad, such as those of the extraction plants managed by the National Hydrocarbons Authority. Furthermore, the presence of our naval forces of war aims to prevent pirate episodes; think of the attack by some smugglers belonging to the terrorist group ISIS, which forced the Italian Coast Guard a few months ago to deliver a boat that had been seized.

The team of experts on Libya presented to the Security Council the report that started the naval embargo, where the use of warships was recommended to support the Libyan government to guarantee security of the territorial sea and to prevent the entry and exit of the Libyan territory of arms and oil. It is not yet known whether the Security Council will determine in international waters a selective naval embargo in respect of particular suspicious vessels and reported by the two Libyan governments (Tripoli and Tobruk), in the same vein as the 2146 / 2014 resolution.

As regards immigration, the question arises whether, with such a blockage by the warships, it is feasible to stop the continuous migratory flow towards the Italian coasts?

In reality, the end of the block is not this, considering the implications of humanity. In this case, it is necessary to speak of illegal expatriates, organized by irresponsible traffickers on superficial and unsafe boats. Only local authorities have the power to stop this flow of human beings. These authorities are the only ones that could carry out relief interventions in the territorial sea, bringing migrants back to Libya in view of their subsequent presentation of asylum applications to international organizations present on the spot. Any rescues carried out on the high seas by the Naval Forces would fall under the responsibility of the individual flag States which, subsequently, should transport the migrants to a safe area.

But what safe area, given that only our country is taking on the task of welcoming them?

What is the rest of the European countries waiting to deactivate the migratory mine?

Getting them back to Libya would be a violation of the rights of the individual, who is entitled to international protection.