Tuesday, May 12, 2015

War? What is it good for?

Did anybody wonder why the UK sent the warship HMS Bulwark to the Mediterranean rather than the helicopter-equipped 100-bed hospital ship (technically classed as a casualty-receiving ship) the RFA Argus that had recently been released from deployment off the coast of West Africa where it had been tackling the ebola disease outbreak and had a crew experienced in humanitarian missions rather than trained for conflict? Alternatively during the Falklands War the cruise liner SS Uganda was converted into a hospital ship. Why has the UK declined to charter another appropriate ship?

It must be apparent that the UK and the EU are determined to use its military power against the people traffickers, to sink their ships and to attack their harbours. The EU is seeking a UN mandate to allow military action to destroy or halt smugglers' boats in Libyan waters. The Libyan ambassador to the UN told the BBC that the EU's intentions were unclear and "very worrying". "The Libyan government has not been consulted by the European Union. They have left us in the dark about what their intentions are, what kind of military actions they are going to take in our territorial waters, so that is very worrying," he told the World Service's Newsday programme. "We want to know... how they can distinguish between the fishers' boats and the traffickers' boats," he added.

Of course, this ambassador is not recognised by a rival government that exists in the war-torn nation of Libya.

Amnesty International meanwhile has warned that military action could leave migrants trapped in Libya in desperate conditions. "Introducing measures to tackle smugglers without providing safe alternative routes... will not resolve the plight of migrants and refugees," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther. 

 It would also simply mean that the main routes for migrants would shift further east or further west. And so the need for armed intervention would also be required to widen. 

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