Lawmakers criticize Britain, France over "collapse" of Libya

The British and French governments have been sharply criticized for pursuing an "opportunist policy of regime change" that led to the "political and economic collapse" of Libya in a cross-party parliamentary report released in London on Wednesday.

Backed by Washington, in early 2011 France and Britain "led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi," the report by a British foreign affairs committee.

By mid-2011, the "limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change" and was "not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya."

The report said the intervention resulted in "political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL [Islamic State] in North Africa."

In Britain, former prime minister David Cameron was "ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy," the lawmakers said.

"Other political options were available," said Crispin Blunt, the committee's chairman. "Political engagement might have delivered civilian protection, regime change and reform at a lesser cost to the UK and Libya."

"Having led the intervention with France, we had a responsibility to support Libyan economic and political reconstruction," said Blunt, a member of parliament for the ruling Conservatives.

"But our lack of understanding of the institutional capacity of the country stymied Libya's progress in establishing security on the ground and absorbing financial and other resources from the international community," he said.

Last update: Wed, 14/09/2016 - 11:20

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