As the situation in Libya continues to deteriorate, the country’s Tripoli-based General National Congress has threatened to flood Europe with migrants unless the European Union recognises their legitimacy vis-à-vis the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. In the midst of lawlessness and chaos, a group of voluntary fighters known as the “Masked Men” has emerged to deal with the threat presented by people smugglers. And while the refugee crisis in Europe garners the majority of headlines, countries such as Yemen and Djibouti – already facing significant troubles of their own – are now experiencing increased migrant flows.
While European responses to the terrorism/migrant nexus control the spotlight, interesting developments are taking place in other parts of the world as well. Costa Rica has proposed a “humanitarian corridor” for Cubans on their way to the US, but the Nicaraguan government has sealed their border, leaving thousands stranded. In Africa, Senegal has announced plans to ban the Islamic veil in a supposed bid to curb terrorist activity while also proposing legislation to force mobile SIM card registration in a move that resembles recent developments in Nigeria. Also in Nigeria, President Buhari declares that government forces are winning the war against Islamic extremism in northern Nigeria. Let’s hope he’s right – for while ISIS garners the most media attention, Boko Haram is actually the world’s most deadly terrorist organization.
Last week, Barbara Walter brought attention to the potential for mass atrocity in Burundi. Unfortunately, the number of wounded appears to be growing while Belgian officials have encouraged their citizens to leave the country. Meanwhile, next door in Rwanda, a recent decision by lawmakers has cleared the way for a referendum on President Paul Kagame’s efforts to seek a third term in office.
In the Middle East, the situation in Yemen has gone from bad to worse despite the return of exiled President Hadi – Houthi rebels are now using land mines while Saudi war planes indiscriminately bomb innocent fishermen. And while provision of even the most basic services is nearly non-existent, the situation is likely to deteriorate even further as Western aid is repurposed to deal with Europe’s own migrant crisis. Politicians and policymakers alike should note that the situation’s increasing complexity may eventually produce Europe’s next wave of would-be migrants.