A parliamentary report is the subject of news today in the United Kingdom. The topic of the report is Britain’s intervention in Libya in 2011. That year was the year of the Arab Spring. With uprisings across the north of the African continent. From Tunisia, to Libya, to Egypt.
Britain and France intervened in the region in March 2011. In Libya, the events that followed led to the overthrowing of Muammar Gaddafi, who was at the time the leader of the country.
The Foreign Affairs Committee in the British Parliament is now looking into the events of 2011. And the decisions that 10 Downing Street took regarding the situation.
The Foreign Affairs Committee Report
The Prime Minister at the time was David Cameron. Who stepped down as PM in June, following the Brexit vote. And who recently announced that he will no longer serve as MP either.
The findings of the report are not kind to former Prime Minister David Cameron. Regarding the air campaign in Libya, the report says that it lacked a coherent strategy.
The committee said that the British intervention did not benefit from “accurate intelligence”. And that the actions that took place eventually led to the current situation. Where the Islamic State is on the rise in North Africa.
The campaign in March 2011 was one of air strikes and missile strikes. It took place after Gaddafi’s regime made the threat to attack Benghazi, a city that at the time was held by rebels.
The foreign affairs committee found that the government did not at the time see that the threat to the civilian population was “overstated”. And that it selectively took only elements of what Gaddafi was saying “at face value”.
After rebels toppled Gaddafi, Libya was the scene of violent events. With rival groups fighting for power and countless militias. The power vacuum allowed for the Islamic State to gain a foothold in the region.
The Foreign Office issued a statement by way of reply to the report. The UK government said that the decion to intervene was reached at an international level. The Arab League had made a call for action. And the UN Security Council had authorized intervention.
Cameron Defends His Decisions
David Cameron defended the air campaign in Libya, although he expressed regret regarding the current situation of the region.
He said of Libya that the Libyan people had the opportunity to build a strong and stable democracy after the intervention. And that it is regretful that it did not happen.
He went on to emphasize how crucial those moments in the spring of 2011 were. And to bring to memory how difficult the situation was at the time. He used strong language in saying that Gaddafi was in fact threating to shoot his own people.
David Cameron said that the goal of the international coalition that came together was to protect the Libyan people.
Cameron seemed to understand that the rise of ISIS has given way to discontent. He acknowledged that Gaddafi opposed extremist groups. But he went on to say that it would be ill-advised to look back with fondness at the time of Gaddafi.
With regard to the threat of terrorism, Cameron said that it was a global issue. He said that a growing ISIS franchise in Libya is not the only problem we are facing. That there are many growing ISIS franchises around the world right now.
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