Saturday, September 24, 2011

Between A Rock And A Sandy Place

In the wake of the civil war in Libya, as in the wake of any war, there have been those that either didn't wish to fight, have wound up on the losing side, or just got their home blown up, and figured it was high time to run and start a new life somewhere that wasn't so violent. In the war's early goings, stories emerged about Libyan refugees fleeing north, east ans west, most notably to Italy, but to Tunisia, Egypt and Malta as well.

There is one more direction on the compass, though.

"Now hang on a minute. Wouldn't going south involve crossing the Sahara Desert and winding up in some country we only hear about when it's having a famine, rigged election or genocide?"

Yes. That's exactly what it involves. Specifically, Chad and Niger. And Chad and Niger are about as equipped to handle tens of thousands of Libyan refugees as you would expect, though they do appreciate the fact that these refugees bring money and have taken an interest in acquiring that money, even at the cost of neglecting their own homegrown, some of whom have grown resentful.

The flow, until the war, was actually reversed, from Chad and Niger into Libya. What has now happened is that each country has refugees from the others.

Of course, as it's tougher to go south, and the destination less desirable, it's a route mainly taken by people who stuck around and can't go north, east or west for some reason. That's primarily going to be people loyal to Gadhafi, and the rebels know it. This is why, recently, the roads south have been a priority for the rebels, who think Gadhafi himself may have taken one such road.

Which would make it a case of closing the barn door after the horse has left.

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