Chaos in Libya poses big threat to Sudan and Egypt
By Amira Khair
Speaking to journalists after briefing the Security Council Mr. Bernardo Leon, special representative of the secretary general to Libya, said "chaos in Libya is a huge problem not only to its own people but also to the international community" as it spreads terrorism. Actually it poses a huge threatening problem also to its neighbors and specially to Sudan and Egypt
One of the events that strengthens the threat of religious extremism to Sudan is the migration of Twareg from Mali to Libya in the aftermath of the French military attack on their position in Mali. And if we look at the previous period we can easily discover that the intervention of France into Sahel-Saharan States through vast military potentials is not new incident . France entered the region formerly using a military force that cannot be underestimated , deploying it in the coastal and desert regions to confront the threat of religious extremism.
But currently the entrance of the French forces is taking place under new developments and that is the emergence of Boko Haram extremist group which is coming as a threat that is not only confined to Nigeria but exceeds it to several states in the region that have no French military existence on their territories . Under such situations France has become a partner in the war against Boko Haram group , and this is a development that naturally leads to multiple repercussions , uppermost amongst them has been the migration of Tuareg from Mali to Libya .
It is important to learn that the extremist Islamic groups in Libya has been able to disconcert the Libyan authorities and cause considerable difficulties when the government found that it was confronting multiple extremist groups that adopt diverse religious ideologies and orientations . The attack carried out against the united states embassy is one of the prominent incidents that reflect the extent of the encroachment upon the legitimate institutions and the growth of the influence and the leverage of the Islamic extremist groups. The differences between these extremist groups are very significant that some of them declared their support for ISIS , whereas there are other armed groups that are apparently allied with ISIS . At the same time we find that there are some groups which engage in fighting with the aforementioned groups such as Fajre Libya group in Sirte region that entered into armed clashes with some extremist groups in February ,2015.
These differences are attributed to the broad base of the orientations tinged with salafist tendencies in a time that is witnessing a shrink in the moderate ideological orientations, and in a stage that is distinguished by growing gravitation towards religion and the leaning towards ideological inclinations is ebbing away and constantly becoming weaker .
The tendency to join the moderate ideological orientation is decreasing reflecting continuing weakness of the leverage previously enjoyed by the moderate groups. In Libya Al Saadi, son of Muammar Ghaddafi , was one of the prominent supporters of the salafist groups , he began to practice his activities and his links with these groups many years before the collapse of Gaddafi regime . The relation of these groups with Saadi and his supportive activities enabled them to move with apparent easiness and freedom inside and outside Libya to carry out their propagation away from any control or restrictions .
It is obvious now that the threat is high and not very far from countries such as Sudan, Egypt, Tunis and Algeria , that the Libyan state has not been able to establish any degree of security or political stability. Some of the experts attribute this instability to the tribal nature of the Libyan society and the large size of the state territories . But what is more apparent in the views of the experts is their indication to the growing leverage of the terrorist armed groups and their connection with regional sources in addition to their dependence on illegitimate financial resources. This apparently led to weakening and disintegration of the state institutions that they have become unable to tackle the situations on the ground and surround the armed groups to impose the rule of law throughout the state territories .
Certainly there are interconnections between the issues that influenced the previous developments and contributed to the creation of the current situations . But the important point here is the escalating tension and anarchy inside the Libyan territories and the growing threats to the neighboring countries. Many attacks were carried out targeting Egyptian military personnel on the western border areas . And a number of experts consider that the threat to Tunisian territories posed by the Islamic extremist groups has once again grown to more higher level after the news which revealed that large numbers of the extremist groups elements have entered the Tunisian lands among the huge crowds of the Libyan citizens who fled from the war in their country. In addition , it is important to take into consideration the new map that shows the locations of ISIS existence , the regions in which they are able to initiate their activities ,and their ability to recruit new elements of extremists in Mali , a state with a clear connection with France leverage in the region . That is in addition to the military attack carried out by France in the year 2013 . It is clear that ISIS entrance into Chad will render their infiltration into Darfur a task that can be carried out without a lot of difficulty or problems especially under the current instability and deteriorated security situations in the region .
Some of the political analyst consider the threat posed by the extremist groups to Sudan as the most highest of all risks , that it is not coming via infiltration through Darfur as a sole path for these groups but it is also growing internally inside Sudan itself. Some of them set as example the Sudanese Islamic groups that have made public their support and allegiance for the Emir of ISIS , and they approve the decapitation and the executions carried out under his jurisdiction .
This threat is apparently indicated by the increasing activities of the extremist groups in the region and their growing ability to influence the political stability and the security in the region . These escalations will certainly affect the internal solidarity and stability and consequently as an inevitable result this development may seriously threaten the political stability in Egypt .
For instance , there are some circumstances that are connected with the activities of these groups but their repercussions expand to cast their shadows on other states . Egypt did not hesitate to promptly respond to the executions carried out against the Egyptian Coptic on the Libyan coasts after the group published the details of its horrible deed through a video posted on its website . The scale of the threats indicated the importance of linking the political work with the military activities targeting these groups .
Finally In order to achieve a comprehensive strategy should be adopted to confront this threat and unify the internal and regional fronts in a way that reinforces the capabilities of these states and communities and empower them in order to enable them to launch strong confrontation with the extremist groups .
The author is a human rights defender & gender justice advocate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org