According to researcher Jalel Harchaoui, migrants are a lever of pressure and wealth for the 80-year-old military leader who controls the entire eastern part of the country, and who benefits from the “deference” of certain European countries, such as Italy.
Before sinking on Wednesday June 14, taking hundreds of human beings with it, the fishing boat carrying migrants set out from Tobruk, Libya. For over ten years, Libya has been at the heart of migration flows from Africa and the Middle East to Europe. Shattered under the influence of several actors sharing the remains of a failed state, Libya is often described as an open-air prison for migrants, where brigades and smugglers trade in human misery. Previously concentrated in the west, the number of crossings is increasing from the Cyrenaica region in eastern Libya. For Jalel Harchaoui, associate researcher at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, the phenomenon is tolerated and even encouraged by Marshal Haftar, in a game of dupes with the European Union.
The boat left from Tobruk, in eastern Libya’s Cyrenaica region. What is the political situation in this region?
The main source of political power in the east of the country is the Haftar family. A few years ago, we were only talking about Marshal Haftar.