Britain, France Push UN for Naval Blockade of Libya

EU Ships Would Enforce Anti-Gadhafi Arms Embargo

In 2011, the UN imposed an arms embargo on Libya, aimed primarily at now long-dead dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Diplomats say French and British officials are keen to really start enforcing that with a new UN Security Council measure authorizing a naval blockade of the Mediterranean nation.

The plan, such as it is, would be for the European Union to send warships to the Libyan coast to intercept any ships “suspected of carrying weapons” that might dock in Libya. The plan comes amid both France and Britain preparing to participate in an Italy-led invasion of Libya,and both nations already have some ground troops inside Libya to that end.

Officials are presenting the new “embargo” as propping up the UN endorsed “unity government,” which the US is already preparing to start shipping arms to. Needless to say, the US arms shipments wouldn’t be blocked by the EU.

Officials accused other recent weapons shipments to Libya to be bound for the Tobruk parliament in the east, which is itself still UN-backed and was meant to be the parliament for the “unity government” under the initial UN plan.

It’s not clear how many weapons are being sent to Libya at any rate, as the Gadhafi government had massive stockpiles looted after NATO imposed regime change, and the country is still awash in arms from that. Indeed, most reports on arms smuggling in Libya relate to the arms coming out of the nation, not going in.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of