BRUSSELS – The EU’s “civilian” border mission in Libya is in fact training paramilitary forces, amid a wider European and US effort to stop Libya becoming a “failed state.”
According to an internal EU paper – a blueprint for the border mission, Eubam Libya, dated 18 April and seen by EUobserver – its “main effort” is to build up the “operational level” of Libya’s “Border Guards (BG)” and “Naval Coast Guard (NCG).”
Both units are part of Libya’s defence ministry.
The BG, a gendarmerie of some 9,000 men responsible for land borders, is, according to the EU paper, under the “direct command” of the Libyan army’s “chief of staff.” The NCG, 6,500 men who look after maritime borders, also reports straight to the top.
The EU document says Eubam will take BG and NCG “battalions” out of the field, train them in secure locations, and “redeploy” them into action.
Eubam’s 111 personnel will be unarmed (albeit heavily guarded) and many of them will have civilian backgrounds in EU police and customs.
But the EU document notes that Eubam should also recruit people with “military expertise” to “provide specialist skills.”
The EU’s Mann said the various projects are being co-ordinated by the UN mission to Libya, Unsmil, which holds “regular meetings” with European and US staff.
The official line is that the EU and US initiatives serve EU security and aim to build a better future for Libyan people.
“Libya’s principal international partners share a common goal, which is the success of the democratic transition and the sustainable stabilisation of the country in the interest not only of Libya but of the whole Mediterranean region,” the Italian source noted.
The state department official said the US wants to “bring stability and rule of law necessary to ensuring the peaceful, democratic and prosperous future for which the Libyan people sacrificed so much.”
Full article: EU ‘civilian’ mission training paramilitaries in Libya (EU Observer)