Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options
Published on 14 September 2016 by authority of the House of Commons
The report listed above is the third report of the session, 2016/2017. Readers can browse the contents but we draw your attention to the following conclusions we have highlighted below, which are detailed in the following link:
Libya: The Evidence Base: Our Assessment
We have seen no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya. It may be that the UK Government was unable to analyse the nature of the rebellion in Libya due to incomplete intelligence and insufficient institutional insight and that it was caught up in events as they developed. It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime; it selectively took elements of Muammar Gaddafi’s rhetoric at face value; and it failed to identify the militant Islamist extremist element in the rebellion. UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence.
Libya: The basis for intervention: were political alternatives explored?
Political engagement might have delivered civilian protection, regime change and reform at lesser cost to the UK and to Libya. If political engagement had been unsuccessful, the UK and its coalition allies would not have lost anything. Instead, the UK Government focused exclusively on military intervention. In particular, we saw no evidence that it tried to exploit former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s contacts and influence with the Gaddafi regime.
Libya: Decision making
We note former Prime Minister David Cameron’s decisive role when the National Security Council discussed intervention in Libya. We also note that Lord Richards implicitly dissociated himself from that decision in his oral evidence to this inquiry.
Libya: A failure of strategy
We recognise that the damaging experience of post-war intervention in Iraq engendered an understandable reluctance to impose solutions in Libya. However, because the UK along with France led the military intervention, it had a particular responsibility to support Libyan economic and political reconstruction, which became an impossible task because of the failure to establish security on the ground.
Our key findings in this report state that the committee saw no evidence that the UK undertook a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya, the UK Government focused exclusively on military intervention, that Lord Richards disassociated himself from decisions made and there was a failure of strategy to support Libyan economic and political reconstruction.
With this in mind we would suggest that there should be a further enquiry as to whether additional action should be taken against those who took part in this Libyan offensive. We also note that David Cameron resigned on 12th September, two days before this report was published.