A parliamentary panel accuses David Cameron of lacking a coherent strategy for the air campaign
The foreign affairs committee criticised former prime minister David Cameron of poor strategy to align with France to overthrow dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The MPs panel 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.
An international coalition led by Britain and France launched a campaign of air and missile strikes against 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.
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”.
“We have seen no evidence the UK government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya,” the report concluded.
“The international community’s inability to secure weapons abandoned by the Gaddafi regime fuelled instability in Libya and enabled increased terrorism across North and West Africa and the Middle East.”