Another NGO temporarily suspends its sea rescue mission. How will the smuggling business react to this?
After the French NGO Doctors Without Borders and the German Sea-Eye, the British organization Save the Children is the next non-governmental organization to stop its sea rescue mission (see Libya: NGOs withdraw rescue ships ahead of schedule). In its statement, this NGO also cites the Libyan Navy’s warning to crack down on NGO vessels in the future. There are fears for the safety of the crew. The stop was preliminary.
For the first time, the NGO’s statement includes an indication of the extent to which the "Search and rescue zone" off the coast of Libya, to which the Libyan navy or. The stop should be ahead of schedule, because the Kustenwache is making its sovereignty claims and wants to enforce them:
It is reported that the Libyan authorities have increased their SAR (search and rescue) zone from 12 nautical miles to 70 nautical miles. This is, as many argue, an extension into international waters.
Save the Children
The NGO’s ship, Vos Hestia, is on its way to Malta, the statement said. Then be advised. According to an English-language report by the Italian news agency ANSA on Monday, 14. August, currently only one NGO ship is supposed to carry out SAR operations off Libya: the Aquarius of SOS Mediterranee.
Whether this is the case, I have yet to find out. There are other organizations involved in SAR missions in the Mediterranean that have not yet crossed off the Identitar list. There they are pleased with the reactions of the NGOs they have been lobbying. The ANSA report, by the way, contains a piece of information that runs counter to the exaggerated figures presented by the identitarians. They are politically campaigning on the fact that the NGO vessels "Hundreds of thousands of migrants" were brought to Europe.
The ANSA statements put into perspective the statements of the right-wing group’s political cinema. According to the report, in the past year the NGO ships have taken 46.796 people rescued from distress at sea. This accounts for about 38% of all those who arrived in Italy last year. In the first four months of 2017 there were 12.646 migrants rescued from distress at sea and brought to Italy. That would correspond to about 35 percent of the total number.
Now, based on the experience of recent years with figures on refugees and migrants, it can be argued that such data are often preliminary, inaccurate and later corrected. However, the difference in dimension – hundreds of thousands vs. tens of thousands – is evident. More or less undercut by the zealots of the "Defense of Europe" the share of the EU operation Sophia in the sea rescue.
Last week, the Irish ship Le William Butler Yeats rescued well over a hundred migrants in distress off the coast of Libya. The ship operates as part of Operation Pontus, which is part of Operation Sophia. In the last two years Irish naval units alone saved nearly 16.000 migrants.
That the right-wing campaign against "Collector" The Working Party, which is completely focused on NGOs, has more to do with a culture war campaign against the "Do-gooderism" (Where does the hatred for the sea rescuers come from than with a politically accurate view of the situation?.
De Maizière and Alfano for an uncompromising course
Nevertheless, the Italian Minister of the Interior, Alfano, and the German Minister of the Interior, de Maizière, could not be unhappy about the preliminary stop of the NGOs’ mission, and the public applauded it, as can be seen from the comments under the corresponding reports. Alfano and de Maizière have coordinated the uncompromising course against NGOs. The Libyan government under Sarajevo has acted according to its dependence. It is roughly dependent on Italy and the EU.
Alfano points to first successes of a policy shift against migrants from Libya. The numbers were jerky in July. The question now is whether this was an exception or whether the tougher approach, the most important element of which is to bring as many migrants as possible back to Libya, will succeed in the longer term.
What are the chances of success against the business model??
NGOs predict that there will be more deaths, which means that, in their view, the deterrent signal ("The traffickers can no longer rely on their unseaworthy boats overloaded with migrants being rescued") will not work as strongly as it is propagated.
The question, however, is whether an extremely successful business model, such as that of smuggling, will be deterred by it. According to a Crisis Group paper, smuggling through Libya is estimated to bring in between $1 billion and $1.5 billion annually. Several militias and tribes benefit from this.
One hypothesis of the paper is that it is not possible to bring in so much money from outside to directly and immediately compensate for the profit already made by those involved in the smuggling business. As an example, a journalist from the Tebu tribe cites the earnings of a cab driver who brings migrants from the Libyan-Nigerian border to the commercial hub of Sebha.
In one month he earns about four times as much as a policeman, 500 dollars, it is explained by an example. It is added that the regular income will soon allow the driver to afford a car and start his own business, which will very quickly bring a return on the investment.
The main thesis of the Crisis Group’s paper is that the south of Libya is a difficult and lucrative zone, contested by many interests, militias, tribes and ethnic groups. The main flow of migrants heading to the Libyan coast passes through Fezzan. Orderly conditions are not in sight for the time being.