UK e-borders scheme deemed ineffective:
Reports have suggested that the £500m ‘e-borders’ programme propelled by the Home Office has not been very effective in dealing with migrants who are said to be potentially dangerous. This scheme, which took 10 years to develop, was made to ensure that ‘high risk individuals’ such as criminals and terrorists would not be able to re-enter into the UK. The idea was for the passengers to provide their personal details to the airlines such that the individuals would be prevented from boarding the planes themselves. However, only 2 airlines have signed up for the pre-departure screenings which are essential for such a system to work.
The scheme was meant to track the movement of 100% of the passengers moving in or out of Britain but only manages to track about 65% of such passengers. To ensure the movement of terrorists and other non-state actors, the tracking of all passengers is essential. The report also expanded upon the ‘poor quality of data’ collected from the e-borders system. The UK Border Agency is said to be the most technologically advanced in Europe but has clearly shown areas where improvement is necessary. The main reason for lack of data collection is said to be because of a lack of tracking on European routes. Also, the lack of e-borders system at sea and on trade routes has made the system seem more ineffective. The full report is, however, not in public domain. The people who have published this report have also put forward some positive findings. They state that the e-system has been effective in capturing criminals who have serious charges such as those of rape and murder on their heads.
Libya intensifies pressure on USA:
There is anger in Libya over the US capture of a suspected Al Qaeda leader. The man named as Abu Anas Al-Liby was wanted for his connection in the bombings in Tanzania and Kenya of US embassies in 1998. US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, commended the raid and stated that this showed how America would spare ‘no effort to hold terrorists accountable’.
The family of Al-Liby, however, calls the raid ‘an act of piracy’. They say that when Abu was coming back from Morning Prayer, he was met with ‘at least 10 men’. These men allegedly were Libyan and had forcibly put this man in a ‘white Mercedes’. They also demand that if Al-Liby has done something wrong then he should be prosecuted within Libya itself. The Libyan government appears to have had no knowledge about this raid and asked for further explanation from the White House.
However, the chances of a prosecution in Libyan soil seem bleak. A spokesperson from the BBC stated that he was being ‘lawfully’ detained under the ‘law of war’ in a secure location outside Libya. He is also being prosecuted in the New York court for the 1998 bombings, which has caused the likelihood of his release from the US authorities to be very low indeed.
The Libyan government, however, feels that this event will not erode relationships between Libya and the US. One leading spokesperson from the ruling party stated that the US played a key role in the revolution and therefore feel that this event would not deteriorate relationships. He also added that although the maintenance of relationships was important, the safety and security of the Libyan citizens was of greater importance.
This raid has angered terrorist groups who have asked for some retaliation.
Hamid Karzai criticizes NATO forces:
NATO combat forces are planning to leave Afghanistan in 2014. There are still 80,000 NATO forces in Afghanistan that will be gradually retracted. Hamid Karzai does not seem to see these forces as being beneficial in his country.
A large amount of resources provided by NATO members were also applied towards maintaining peace in Afghanistan. However, President Hamid Karzai claims that not only have the NATO forces been ineffective but have in fact ended up being damaging for the country. He claimed that the NATO had a role to play in the loss of life of Afghan people. He further stated that he did not want a partial victory over terrorism but a ‘clear-cut’ war on terror. In the same interview he also said that he would open talks with the Al Qaeda, as they are also Afghan citizens.
This view, however, has brought forward criticism from people around the world. Some say that it is unfair to the soldiers who had lost their lives towards the cause as well as the nations that had committed their resources in Afghanistan through the NATO forces. The NATO itself is yet to release an official response to Karzai’s claims.
This is not the firwst time that Karzai has made such controversial claims. He has tended to show animosity towards western forces in the past in various speeches and interviews.
EU proposes Mediterranean Sea patrols:
On October 3, a migrant boat was shipwrecked off the coast of Lampedusa in Italy. The incident resulted in the death of 274 people and the captain of the ship being detained. This has resulted in the European Commission requesting the EU to undertake search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Italian Interior Minister, Angelo Alfano, supported the proposition and stated that more has to be done to save lives.
“We have saved thousands and thousands of people”, she said, “now we are asking EU for a hand in strengthening border control”. However, there is growing concern that this scheme may fail as the migrant boats may flee as they see the patrol approaching. EU states have not been able to come to an agreement on their policies on migrants and asylum seekers. A growing number of asylum seekers from Syria and elsewhere has put pressure on European nations to reach a concrete solution to these issues.