Mike Hookem MEP has slammed moves by the EU to put European “boots on the ground” in Libya, saying, “involvement in this conflict will be used as a clarion call for the creation of a combined EU army”, but that it was more likely to be the “EU’s Vietnam”.
Mr Hookem’s comments come after a secret EU document was leaked to Vice Alps and Wikileaks, which spelled out how the EU planned to expand ‘Operation Sophia’ in order to move ‘EU military assets' into Libyan waters and which could eventually include putting ‘EU troops’ on the ground.
Speaking from Brussels, Mr Hookem said, “We know from internal EU briefings that we are already at stage one of these proposals and that stages two and three are established, but not yet approved.”
“In a recent meeting I attended with Lieutenant General Wolfgang Wosolsobe, Director General of the EU Military Staff, he told MEPs "The EU military operation against traffickers is about to enter its next phase," adding he would be seeking a UN mandate for "his forces" to intervene in Libyan territorial waters.”
“Any move to put naval assets in Libyan waters, or ‘boots on the ground’ would require UN authorisation, especially as there is no unified government in Libya to authorise action of this type.”
“Senior defence sources have told me that the while NATO’s high command has ‘little stomach’ for further western intervention in Libya, the EU high command is ‘pushing the issue of intervention in Libya forward’”.
“For me this highlights how the European Commission has ulterior motives and would use its involvement in this complex, protracted and multifaceted conflict to bolster its push for the creation of a combined EU army, which we know some EP parliamentary groups wish to see in place by 2025.”
“While I believe that it is critical that measures are taken against the terrorist organisations who are making huge profits from people trafficking in Libya - especially with the growing influence of Daesh in the region – the assets used must be a part of a ‘Grand Coalition’ led by Arab nations, not by EU leaders who have no clue about how an army should operate in this type of complex environment, nor of the political dynamics required in such situations.”
“The fact is that any ground forces deployed in Libya could quickly find themselves fighting multiple enemies, on multiple fronts. We have already seen what a mess Western leaders made in Libyan through their intervention to topple Gaddafi.”
“My great fear here is that the UK could be drawn into an unwinnable and protracted conflict that could quickly become the EU’s Vietnam.”