EU sanctions groups breaching Libyan arms embargo
On 21 September, the European Union (EU) foreign ministry imposed economic sanctions on 3 companies for violating the Libyan arms embargo. The companies were the Kazakhstan-based Sigma Airlines, the Turkish maritime company Avrasya Shipping (which operated the Cirkin vessel linked to transporting military material to Libya in June 2020) and the maritime company Med Wave Shipping (reportedly linked to the transport of military material to Libya in January 2020). The EU also sanctioned 2 Libyan individuals: commander of the LNA’s al-Saiqa Brigade, Mahmoud al-Werfalli (known for his beheadings of Islamists), and Mousa Diab, who held refugees and migrants in captivity in an illegal detention camp near Bani Walid and ‘is responsible for and has directly engaged in serious human rights abuses.’
The arms embargo dates back to 2011 and has been widely and systematically violated, with Turkey as one of the main violators. This most recent round of sanctions is a departure from previous trends, as the EU, the UN and other powerful countries such as the US have completely failed to ‘name and shame’ the countries involved in breaking the arms embargo, let alone sanction them, over the past few years. However, given the overall weakness of the embargo and its enforcement mechanisms, these sanctions nonetheless appear as a rather toothless gesture and fail to address the current perpetrators and spoilers of peace in Libya.