Wednesday, 14 September 2016

MPs attack Cameron over Libya 'collapse'

A UK parliamentary report has severely criticised
the intervention by Britain and France that led
to the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi in 2011.
The foreign affairs committee accused the then
PM David Cameron of lacking a coherent
strategy for the air campaign.
It said the intervention had not been "informed
by accurate intelligence", and that it led to the
rise of so-called Islamic State in North Africa.
The UK government said it had been an
international decision to intervene.
The action had been called for by the Arab
League and authorised by the UN Security
Council, the Foreign Office added.
Why is Libya so lawless?
Cameron defends Libya decisions
An international coalition led by Britain and
France launched a campaign of air and missile
strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's forces in
March 2011 after the regime threatened to
attack the rebel-held city of Benghazi.
But after Gaddafi was toppled, Libya descended
into violence, with rival governments and the
formation of hundreds of militias, while so-called
Islamic State, also known as Isil and Daesh, has
gained a foothold.
The committee's key conclusions include:
Through his decision making in the National
Security Council, David Cameron was
ultimately responsible for the failure to
develop a coherent Libya strategy
The possibility that militant extremist groups
would attempt to benefit from the rebellion
should not have been the preserve of
hindsight
It saw no evidence that the UK Government
carried out a proper analysis of the nature
of the rebellion in Libya. UK strategy was
founded on erroneous assumptions and an
incomplete understanding of the evidence
The limited intervention to protect civilians
had drifted into an opportunist policy of
regime change. That policy was not
underpinned by a strategy to support and
shape post-Gaddafi Libya
Political engagement might have delivered
civilian protection, regime change and
reform at lesser cost to the UK and to Libya
British troops should not be deployed to
Libya in a training role until the Government
of National Accord has established political
control, stabilised internal security and made
a formal request to the UK Government for
such assistance, which should then be
considered by the UK Parliament
Mr Cameron has defended his handling of the
situation, telling MPs in January action was
needed because Gaddafi "was bearing down on
people in Benghazi and threatening to shoot his
own people like rats".
But the foreign affairs committee said the
government "failed to identify that the threat to
civilians was overstated", adding that it
"selectively took elements of Gaddafi's rhetoric
at face value".
The government also failed to identify the
"militant Islamist extremist element in the
rebellion", the MPs said.
"The possibility that militant extremist groups
would attempt to benefit from the rebellion
should not have been the preserve of hindsight,"
the committee said, adding: "UK strategy was
founded on erroneous assumptions and an
incomplete understanding of the evidence."