By Scott Taylor
Over the past few weeks, there have been a growing number of news reports about the migrant crisis in Europe.
Hungary has now completed the erection of a four-metre-high fence along its 175-kilometre border with Serbia. The intention of this massive wall is to stem the flow of the thousands of asylum seekers that have been pouring into Hungary since last fall. The overwhelming majority of these migrants had no intention of remaining in Hungary, which is why none of the European Union nations where these refugees hoped to eventually reside objected to Hungary’s extreme countermeasure.
In the French port city of Calais, it has become a new and frightening phenomenon for mobs of desperate asylum seekers to attempt to force a physical passage through the 50-kilometre channel tunnel — commonly referred to as the Chunnel — to the United Kingdom. France has deployed a growing number of riot police to contain the crowds, but nevertheless, a trickle of fanatics have managed to successfully complete the passage.
Of course, blocking access points for migrants with tall fences and snarling guard dogs does not stop the original flow of these human waves. If blocked at the Hungarian border, the stemmed tide of humanity cannot be absorbed by Serbia, Macedonia and Greece. Their fragile and collapsing economies simply cannot cope with the scale of this crisis. Ironically, the source of the majority of these uprooted migrants is the violent instability created by western interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. These desperate huddled masses are the flotsam and jetsam that resulted from civil wars that were triggered by U.S. and NATO regime changes that, once initiated, the West has been powerless to contain.
Ironically, the biggest conduit for this human traffic is through Libya. The NATO-led intervention in Libya in 2011 was supposed to be a nice, clean little victory for freedom-loving Libyans. Western media had already demonized President Moammar Gadhafi as a crazy despot, so naturally anyone wanting to overthrow him must be a really good guy. At least that’s what Canada’s then foreign affairs minister wanted us to believe.
NATO could not wait to jump into the burgeoning Libyan civil war. They convinced the UN Security Council that Gadhafi was intent on using his air force to punish his disloyal subjects, and NATO was thus granted Resolution 1973, authorizing the alliance to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. The NATO commanders quickly tossed aside that limited mandate and embarked on a full-scale air campaign, led by Canadian Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard to support the rebels and affect regime change.
As the war dragged on for weeks and then months, it soon became clear that not only did Gadhafi still have public support, but the ranks of the rebel factions contained some seriously questionable characters. In fact, a great number of the anti-Gadhafi fighters were in fact foreign jihadists, Islamic extremists and even al-Qaida. Nevertheless, a mission is a mission and NATO carried on to the bitter end, bombing the last of the diehard Gadhafi loyalists as they tried to flee from their final stronghold in the city of Sirte.
An indication that all was not well with the rebels was immediately evident when they captured Gadhafi alive and promptly began to beat the dazed 67-year-old former president to death in the street. Gadhafi’s actual cause of death was allegedly the blood loss resulting from him being sodomized with a tent spike. This brutal killing was of course dismissed by NATO leaders as just a little high-spirited victory celebration by the war-weary, freedom-loving Libyan rebels.
Unfortunately for all those western leaders responsible for regime change in Libya, the rebels never stopped fighting. The Islamist militias refused to disarm and massive atrocities, particularly against sub-Saharan black Libyans, abounded. The country quickly plunged into a failed state, gripped by total anarchy.
In an almost absurd sidebar to this wholesale crisis, last week a Libyan court convicted some 30 former Gadhafi officials of war crimes committed during the civil war. This court was established by one of the two rival governments attempting to rule Libya, alongside at least six other regional warlords who control their own territories.
One of those convicted and sentenced to death was Saif al-Islam, the eldest son of Gadhafi. Since his apprehension by the militia on Aug. 22, 2011, Saif al-Islam has been held in the town of Zintan. The Zintani tribal chiefs have no intention of executing their prisoner or turning him over to Libyan officials or the International Criminal Court, by whom he is also wanted. They know that if they release Gadhafi’s son, he would rally the Gadhafa, Warfalla and Maghraha tribes — Libya’s three largest — and regain power in a matter of weeks. He is like a lion in a cage and, for now, a very useful bargaining tool for the Zintani leaders.
Ironically, a Libya back under the functioning control and authority of Gadhafi’s son would turn off the spigot of human traffic now flowing into Europe.