As we discussed in the previous article, intervention and spillover are already occurring—thus we determined the likelihood of three partition scenarios occurring in the midst of intervention and spillover was highly unlikely. In this article, we shall discuss the organization, indicators, and likelihood of the various spillover scenarios occurring both in the event of partition and without partition. When discussing the potential directions of spillover, north refers to Europe; east refers to Egypt; south refers to Niger and Chad; and west refers to Algeria and Tunisia.
Note: In the following article, we shall use the acronym COR for the Council of Representatives (nationalists), GNC for the General National Congress (Islamists), and GNA for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (unity government).
Organizing the Scenarios and Indicators
First, we shall evaluate the likelihood of increased spillover occurring without partition, where each direction of spillover will be assessed on its own.
Then, we shall assess the likelihood of increased spillover occurring after each partition type that was discussed in the previous article.
Evaluating the Indicators
The likelihood of each indicator is based on the current reality on the ground, which may warrant a change of likelihood as we progress through each scenario in the forthcoming articles.
The following scenarios and their indicators will show how we determined the numerical likelihoods based on current realities. We use the following table for our likelihood levels:
1- Scenario: No Partition, Increased Spillover
A first batch of indicators, focusing on the Libyan side are used to assess the general likelihood of increased spillover, stemming from the Libyan side, occurring. The obtained likelihood will then be included in the scenario for directions, as we shall see next.
1. Are current measures insufficient to mitigate the flow of migrants, jihadists, arms, and illicit goods through Libya? 81% (Highly Likely). Based on the combined likelihoods of indicators 1a, 1b, and 1c, this indicator has an overall likelihood of 81%.
1A. Are Libya’s border control efforts insufficient? 100% (Certain). Considering spillover is already occurring (see previous article) and shows little to no signs of improving, we gave this indicator a 100% likelihood.
1B. Are Libyan tribes continuing to contribute to the spillover? 85% (Almost Certain). Italy recently brokered a deal with southern Libyan tribes to help secure the southern border – particularly in regard to migrant crossings (Yahoo News, April 3, 2017). However, we are not aware of its implementation, much less any results. Furthermore, many of these tribes are dependent on smuggling for their livelihoods (see Tribal Dynamics and Civil War II and III), so the success of this deal depends primarily on tribes being provided alternative economic incentives. Considering these realities in southern Libya, we gave this indicator an 85% likelihood.
1C. Have external actors failed to implement effective plans within Libya that would bolster Libya’s capabilities to mitigate the flow of migrants, jihadists, arms, and illicit goods? 95% (Almost Certain). Although Italy has been training Libyan coast guard units how to effectively intercept migrant boats (Kington, DefenseNews, March 20, 2017), migrant crossings through Libya into Italy have continued to surge in 2017 (Amini, CNBC, April 29, 2017) and EU officials recently noted that the GNA clearly lacks an actionable strategy to lessen the numbers of migrants—which make partnerships with the GNA more difficult (Emmott and Korkemeier, Reuters, April 27, 2017). Italy also negotiated a deal with tribes in southern Libya to help curtail the migrant flow (Yahoo News, April 3, 2017), but implementation and results are yet to be seen. Furthermore, a strategy has yet to be implemented to address smuggling incentives and mitigate the flow of jihadists, arms, and illicit goods. As a result, we gave this indicator a 95% likelihood.
2. Have recent Salafist losses increased the likelihood of Libyan jihadists to willingly migrate into neighboring countries? 85% (Almost Certain). With Islamic State militants being forced into southern Libya, there is a greater likelihood that they would be willing to migrate to Algeria, Niger, and Chad (Lewis, Reuters, February 10, 2017; Nathan, The Telegraph, March 1, 2017). Considering their relationship with Boko Haram (Paton, International Business Times, May 20, 2016; Kouri, Eurasia Review, May 30, 2016), they could seek to join the insurgency in the Lake Chad region. In January 2017, the U.S. B-2 bombings in southern Libya targeted Islamic State fighters that were believed to be organizing attacks in the EU (deGrandpre and Losey, Air Force Times, January 19, 2017). Most recently, Italian intelligence believes a “number of Islamic State fighters” from Libya have infiltrated Europe through a program (known as the Centre for the Support of Injured Libyans) that provides extended medical treatment for wounded GNA soldiers (Tondo, Messina, and Wintour, The Guardian, April 28, 2017). Furthermore, opportunities to link up with terrorist groups in unstable areas like Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Egypt could attract Libya’s displaced Salafists and therefore worsen the situations in those countries. As a result, we gave this indicator an 85% likelihood.
Thus, we assess that in general, for the Libyan part, there is a 69% likelihood of increased spillover occurring given the current situation (no partition and not accounting for the more detailed indicators of each neighboring country). We need now to apply to this likelihood generic to Libya, the indicators relative to the specific countries where the spillover could occur.
A/ Scenario: No Partition, Increased Spillover Towards Europe (North): 50%
It is important to note that spillover to the north—notably in the form of mass illegal migration—differs from spillover towards Libya’s western, southern, and eastern neighbors. In addition to being transit (or occasionally destination) countries for migrants, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, and Egypt face flows of smuggled weapons, jihadists, and illicit goods—some of which would increase instability, terrorism, insurgency, and tribal fighting. Considering Libya’s geographical positioning and the location of Africa’s smuggling routes, its civil war and resulting spillover is directly linked to the levels of instability in neighboring countries.
1. Are people still willing to cross the Mediterranean through Libya despite the inherent risks? 90% (Almost Certain). Based on the combined likelihoods of indicators 1a and 1b, this indicator has an overall likelihood of 90%.
1A. Does the Libyan migrant route remain the most accessible route in Africa? 95% (Almost Certain). Likely as a result of forcibly repatriating many illegal migrants, as well as implementing a new law imposing harsh punishments for human smugglers (Cuttitta, Statewatch, April 2017; Plaut, Yahoo News, May 3, 2017; Stratfor Worldview, October 7, 2016), Egypt has forced many migrants to brave the dangerous route through Libya into Europe. Regarding the Western Route, Morocco has intensified its border security on its coast opposite Spain (Kostas, Middle East Institute, April 18, 2017), and its intelligence and security branches have been able to keep smuggling networks to a minimum (Stratfor Worldview, October 7, 2016). Meanwhile, Tunisia has signed an immigration deal with Germany, where Berlin is providing development funds in exchange for Tunis’ cooperation in quickly repatriating rejected asylum seekers (The New Arab, March 4, 2017)—which is likely to deter migrants from crossing through Tunisia. At various times, Algeria has rounded up and deported migrants (Xuequan, Xinhua, March 23, 2017; Voice of America, December 9, 2017), although we cannot detail the level of deterrence effect on migrants heading towards Algeria. In addition to deterrents in other countries, Libya has a porous border, an abundance of smugglers (Al Jazeera, March 2, 2017), and is closer in proximity to European shores make it the last remaining transit country on the Central Mediterranean Route. Considering these realities, we gave this indicator a 95% likelihood.
1B. Do current conflicts, lack of economic opportunity, and instability in Africa continue to force people to migrate towards Europe? 95% (Almost Certain). Most African migrants going to Europe are fleeing extreme poverty, repression, and conflict that they have been experiencing in their home countries (Medecins Sans Frontieres, February 27, 2017; Michael, Africa News, February 3, 2017). Recent famine outbreaks in South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria (Gettleman, The New York Times, March 27, 2017), as well as increasing conflict, instability, and oppression in places like Nigeria, Somalia, and Eritrea, have contributed to a surge in migrants heading towards Libya (Michael, Africa News, February 3, 2017). The lack of economic opportunities in these countries is also a crucial factor that affects the willingness of people to migrate towards Europe. As a result, we gave this indicator a 95% likelihood.
2. Do Europe’s policies fail to reduce the migrant flow? 80% (Highly Likely). An important strand of European policies consist of deals with transit countries, aiming at reducing migrations. After receiving funding and training from the EU to combat migrant smugglers in Agadez (Niger’s smuggling hub), Niger reduced the migrant flow going to Libya (Scherer, Reuters, April 21, 2017). However, a special report noted that the low numbers of migrants passing through Niger could also be the result of migrants and their traffickers taking alternate routes—meaning the lower numbers could either indicate fewer migrants going through Niger, or fewer are being counted (Diallo, IRIN News, February 2, 2017). The EU’s migration deals with other African countries have thus far failed to mitigate the high numbers of migrants still crossing the Mediterranean (Abderrahim, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, February 23, 2017; Phillips, IRIN News, February 7, 2017). Considering the lack of results with other countries, as well as the uncertainty of the full effect of Niger’s smuggling crackdown we gave this indicator an 80% likelihood.
Note of the publisher: Europe’s policies in terms, notably, of border control, management of flows within Europe, family regroupment, and attractive power, in material and immaterial terms, of Europe and its various countries, should also be considered. The evolution of the European Union policies, the throws of the EU evolution, including following not only elections but also the capacity of newly elected governments to execute their policies, would also be major factors here. The breadth and complexity of the issue thus goes beyond the scope of this article and would deserve the development of a specific set of detailed scenarios. As a result, we keep as a very conservative estimate the 80% likelihood of failure evaluated above, knowing that this estimate would most likely change with full inclusion of this section of Europe’s policies.
B/ Scenario: No Partition, Increased Spillover Towards Tunisia and Algeria (West): 29%
1. Are Tunisia and Algeria unable to fully secure their borders? 43% (Improbable). Based on the combined likelihoods of indicators 1a and 1b, this indicator has an overall likelihood of 43% (the lower the likelihood, the lower the risk of spill over, the higher, the higher the risk of spill over).
1A. Are Tunisia and Algeria currently experiencing instability that impact the state’s ability to mitigate spillover? 85% (Almost Certain). Tunisia recently extended its state of emergency due to its security situation (Middle East Monitor, February 17, 2017). Furthermore, it faces protests and strikes as a result of high unemployment and widespread corruption (Middle East Eye, April 29, 2017). At the same time, Algeria is experiencing terrorist threats, declining oil revenue, and a battered economy—all of which are fueling social unrest (Weinthal, National Review, February 3, 2017; Sakthivel, The Washington Institute, April 25, 2017). Considering these realities, we gave this indicator an 85% likelihood.
1B. Do Tunisia and Algeria lack the manpower or technology to sufficiently deal with border threats? 50% (Improbable). In 2016, Tunisia completed a 200km barrier along its border with Libya (Amara, Reuters, February 6, 2016); in early 2017, it received additional materials to reinforce the barrier (Security World Hotel, March 20, 2017), and announced the completion of its electronic surveillance system on the Tunisian-Libyan border (Libya News Agency, February 2, 2017). The Tunisian military has also begun receiving U.S. military helicopters (Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warriors) for use in border security and counter-terrorism operations (Africa News, February 6, 2017). Most recently, Tunisia’s Ministry of Defense announced the deployment of troops to its southern region to “protect oil facilities against attacks from militants in neighboring Libya,” (Reuters, April 30, 2017). In an effort to prevent jihadist infiltration and arms smuggling, Algeria has maintained a troop presence on its border with Libya, opened a new air base in its southern province, and deploys surveillance aircraft and drones to monitor its borders (Xuequan, Xinhua, March 7, 2017; Cristiani, Algeria & World Center of Studies, April 10, 2017; Ghanmi, Libya Tribune, January 31, 2017). However, Algeria has a 6,385km border to monitor, which may stretch its forces. With these realities in mind, we gave this indicator a 50% likelihood.
— Alwasat Libya (@alwasatengnews) February 22, 2017
C/ Scenario: No Partition, Increased Spillover Towards Niger and Chad (South): 55%
1. Are Niger and Chad unable to fully secure their borders? 81% (Highly Likely). Based on the combined likelihoods of indicators 1a and 1b, this indicator has an overall likelihood of 81%.
1A. Are Niger and Chad currently experiencing instability that impact the state’s ability to mitigate spillover? 95% (Almost Certain). Niger is currently experiencing an insurgency (Boko Haram), terrorist attacks from jihadists in Mali, droughts, food insecurity, and a burgeoning population that needs access to food and water (Gueret, Royal United Services Institute, April 13, 2017; BBC News, January 5, 2017). Chad currently faces several humanitarian crises—primarily large-scale food insecurity—as well as the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region (UN OCHA, March 2017; International Crisis Group, March 8, 2017). Considering these realities, we gave this indicator a 95% likelihood.
1B. Do Niger and Chad lack the manpower or technology to sufficiently deal with border threats? 85% (Almost Certain). This year, Chad closed its border with Libya, “declared the frontier region a military zone,” and deployed troops to that area—showing they have the ability to handle potential border threats (Laing, Huffington Post, January 6, 2017). However, Niger is currently dealing with inter-communal violence from local militias, attacks by Malian-based extremists, and the Boko Haram insurgency (Gueret, Royal United Services Institute, April 13, 2017), which already preoccupy its security and military forces. Considering Niger’s multi-front security situation, we gave this indicator an 85% likelihood.
D/ Scenario: No Partition, Increased Spillover Towards Egypt (East): 52%
1. Is Egypt unable to fully secure its borders? 76% (Highly Likely). Based on the combined likelihoods of indicators 1a and 1b, this indicator has an overall likelihood of 76%.
1A. Is Egypt currently experiencing instability that impact its ability to mitigate spillover? 95% (Almost Certain). Egypt is currently tackling a failing economy, an ISIS insurgency in the Sinai, and nation-wide terrorist attacks against Coptic Christians and security personnel (Hendawi, Associated Press, April 12, 2017; Fox News, April 18, 2017). Following the recent ISIS attacks on Christian churches, El-Sissi declared a 3-month state of emergency (Deutsche Welle, April 9, 2017). As a result, we gave this indicator a 95% likelihood.
1B. Does Egypt lack the manpower or technology to sufficiently deal with border threats? 80% (Highly Likely). Egypt’s security apparatus and military are preoccupied with a dangerous insurgency in the Sinai, as well as facing terrorist attacks in other areas, thus taking a toll on available resources it can send to its massive border with Libya. Furthermore, the government has passed over border control equipment in favor of acquiring “power projection equipment” that is “ill-suited for anti-smuggling efforts,” (Mandour, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 24, 2017). Considering these realities, we gave this indicator an 80% likelihood.
Summary: Likelihood of Increased Spillover without Partition
After calculating each direction’s likelihood of increased spillover, we assess that increased spillover with no partition would range from improbable to likely (29%-55%)—depending on the direction.
2- Scenario: Partition and Increased Spillover
When assessing the likelihood of increased spillover occurring after partition, we included the likelihood resulting from the indicator below, then multiplied each direction’s likelihood by the final calculations for partition from the previous article estimating the likelihood for partition.
Does a partitioned Libya negatively affect border security, and thus increase the risk of spillover? 85% (Almost Certain). Without a cohesive border control strategy implemented by a unified Libya, there is a higher likelihood of spillover in the short term as partitioned states try to implement their own border control systems. For example: if some tribes decide to form their own states away from the rival governments, there will be differing security priorities, which would undermine Libyans’ ability to control their own borders. Thus we gave this indicator an 85% likelihood.
Summary: Likelihood of Partition and Increased Spillover
After calculating each direction’s likelihood of increased spillover occurring after a partition, we assess that Partition and Increased Spillover would be highly unlikely—less than 20%.
Feature Photo: Operation Triton by Tomh903 [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia
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