MPs attack Cameron over Libya ‘collapse’

A United Kingdom 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.

According to BBC, 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.

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; tt 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.”