British lawmakers have accused Cameron of launching the intervention on “erroneous assumptions.” Their report comes just days after the disgraced ex-prime minister resigned as a member of parliament.
A parliamentary report released on Wednesday said the UK’s bombing campaign in Libya was based on flawed intelligence and hastened the collapse of the country, leading to further bloodshed.
The Foreign Affairs Committee slammed the decision to invade the North African country in 2011 in an effort to remove then-leader Moammar Gadhafi. Though the intervention was ostensibly meant to aid civilians under fire from Gadhafi’s forces, British lawmakers said the UK government had failed to provide credible evidence that the dictator’s regime directly threatened civilians.
Furthermore, the report said the UK government neglected to acknowledge the Islamist extremist element in the conflict. “UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence,” the report said.
Lawmakers suggested the intervention was at least partly to blame for the continuing chaos in the country, which, five years after Western forces united to remove Gadhafi, continues to be riven by internal conflict.
Cameron to blame
The committee said Cameron had a “decisive” role in the intervention and was “ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy.”
Committee chair Crispin Blunt noted other options that the UK could’ve pursued in place of military intervention. “Political engagement might have delivered civilian protection, regime change and reform at a lesser cost to the UK and Libya,” Blunt said in a statement. “The UK would have lost nothing by trying these instead of focusing exclusively on regime change by military means.”
As the situation in Libya deteriorates, Western governments involved in the 2011 intervention have weighed in on the decision to get involved. In an interview with US broadcaster Fox News in April, President Barack Obama expressed regret about the decision, saying his “biggest mistake” was “probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.”
In addition to an ongoing insurgency by the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) terrorist group, Libya currently suffers from a civil war between various groups, including the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and a rival administration led by General Khalifa Haftar.
blc/kl (AFP, Reuters)