Libya, David Cameron’s “Iraq”? Damning Report Shreds Another War Monger
By Felicity Arbuthnot – Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron is consistent in just one thing – jumping ship when the going gets tough. He announced his resignation in the immediate wake of the 23rd July referendum in which Britain marginally voted to leave the EU, a referendum which he had fecklessly called to appease right wing “little Englanders”, instead of facing them down.
He lost. The result is looming financial catastrophe and the prospect of unraveling forty three years of legislations (Britain joined the then European Economic Community on 1st January 1973.) No structure was put in place for a government Department to address the legal and bureaucratic enormities should the leave vote prevail. There is still none.
Cameron however committed to staying on as an MP until the 2020 general election, vowing grandiosely: “I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed”, he said of the small island off Europe which he had potentially sunk, now isolated from and derided by swathes of its continental neighbours – with the sound of trading doors metaphorically slamming shut reverberating across the English Channel.
David Cameron has now jumped again, resigning unexpectedly and immediately as an MP on Monday 12thSeptember, giving the impression that he was not in agreement with certain policies of his (unelected) successor, Theresa May. He stated: “Obviously I have my own views about certain issues … As a former PM it’s very difficult to sit as a back-bencher and not be an enormous diversion and distraction from what the Government is doing. I don’t want to be that distraction.” What an ego.
Over the decades of course, the House of Parliament has been littered with former Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers who have remained constituency MPs without being a “distraction.”
The following day the real reason for his decision seemed obvious. Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee released their devastating findings on Cameron’s hand in actions resulting in Libya’s near destruction, contributing to the unprecedented migration of those fleeing UK enjoined “liberations”, creating more subsequent attacks in the West – and swelling ISIS and other terrorist factions.
“Cameron blamed for rise of ISIS”, thundered The Times headline, adding: “Damning Inquiry into Libya points finger at former PM.” The Guardian opined: “MPs condemn Cameron over Libya debacle” and: “Errors resulted in country ‘becoming failed state and led to growth of ISIS.’ ”
The Independent owned “I”: “Cameron’s toxic Libya legacy”, with: “Former PM blamed for collapse in to civil war, rise of ISIS and mass migration to Europe in Inquiry’s scathing verdict” and “Cameron ignored lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan …”
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The Independent chose: “Cameron’s bloody legacy: Damning Report blames ex-PM for ISIS in Libya.”
No wonder he plopped over the side. The Report is decimating. The Foreign Affairs Select Committee concluding: “Through his decision-making in the National Security Council, former Prime Minister, David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy.”
The disasters leading to that final verdict include the UK’s intervention being based on “erroneous assumption” an “incomplete understanding” of the situation on the ground, with Cameron leaping from limited intervention to an: “opportunist policy of (entirely illegal) regime change”, based on “inadequate intelligence.”
Once Gaddafi had been horrendously assassinated, resultant from the assault on his country: “ … failure to develop a coherent strategy … had led to political and economic collapse, internecine warfare, humanitarian crisis and the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in North Africa.”
After his death, Gaddafi’s body, with that of his son, Mutassim, was laid out on the floor of a meat warehouse in Misrata. (“I”, 14th September 2016.)
“We came, we saw, he died”, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton told the media, with a peal of laughter. (1) Just under a year later US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three US officials were murdered in Benghazi. Payback time for her words, taken out on the obvious target?
Muammar Gaddafi, his son Muatassim and his former Defence Minister were reportedly buried in unmarked graves in the desert, secretively, before dawn on 25th October 2011. The shocking series of events speaking volumes for the “New Libya” and the Cameron-led, British government’s blood dripping hands in the all.
The UK’s meddling hands were involved from the start. France, Lebanon and the UK, supported by the US, proposed UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
Britain was the second country, after France, to call for a “no fly zone” over Libya in order to: “to use all necessary measures” to prevent attacks on civilians. “It neither explicitly authorised the deployment of ground forces nor addressed the question of regime change or of post conflict reconstruction”, reminds the Committee.
Moreover: “France led the international community in advancing the case for military intervention in Libya … UK policy followed decisions taken in France.” Former Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder confirmed to the Committee: “Cameron and Sarkozy were the undisputed leaders in terms of doing something.” (Emphasis added.)
The US was then “instrumental in extending the terms of the Resolution” to even a “no drive zone” and “assumed authority to attack the entire Libyan government’s command and communications network.”
On the 19th March 2011, a nineteen nation “coalition” turned a “no fly zone” into a free fire zone and embarked on a blitzkrieg of a nation of just 6.103 million (2011 figure) people.
All this in spite of the revelation to the Committee by former UK Ambassador to Libya Sir Dominic Asquith, that the intelligence base at to what was really happening in the country: “… might well have been less than ideal.”
Professor George Joffe, renowned expert on the Middle East and North Africa, noted: “the relatively limited understanding of events” and that: “people had not really bothered to monitor closely what was happening.”
Analyst Alison Pargeter: ‘expressed her shock at the lack of awareness in Whitehall of the “history and regional complexities” of Libya.’
Incredibly Whitehall appeared to have been near totally ignorant as to the extent to which the “rebellion” might have been a relatively small group of Islamic extremists.
Former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Richards was apparently unaware that Abdelhakim Belhadj and other Al Qaeda linked members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were involved. “It was a grey area”, he said. However: “a quorum of respectable Libyans were assuring the Foreign Office” that militant Islam would not benefit from the rebellion. “With the benefit of hindsight, that was wishful thinking at best”, concluded his Lordship.
“The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Militant connections with transnational militant extremist groups were know before 201l, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda”, commented the Committee. (Emphasis added)
Iraq revisited. Back then it was the “respectable” Ahmed Chalabi, Iyad Allawi and their ilk selling a pack of lies to the seemingly ever gullible, supremely unworldly Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Much was made by William Hague, Foreign Secretary at the time and by Liam Fox, then Defence Secretary, of Muammar’s Gaddafi’s threatening rhetoric. The Committee pointed out that: ”Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”
Further, two days before the 19 nation onslaught: ‘On 17 March 2011, Muammar Gaddafi announced to the rebels in Benghazi, “Throw away your weapons, exactly like your brothers in Ajdabiya and other places did. They laid down their arms and they are safe. We never pursued them at all.”
Subsequent investigation revealed that when Gaddafi’s forces re-took Ajdabiya in February 2011, they did not attack civilians. “Muammar Gaddafi also attempted to appease protesters in Benghazi with an offer of development aid before finally deploying troops.”
Professor Joffe agreed that Gaddafi’s words were historically at odds with his deeds: “If you go back to the American bombings in the 1980s of Benghazi and Tripoli, rather than trying to remove threats to the regime in the east, in Cyrenaica, Gaddafi spent six months trying to pacify the tribes that were located there. The evidence is that he was well aware of the insecurity of parts of the country and of the unlikelihood (that military assault was the answer.) Therefore, he would have been very careful in the actual response…the fear of the massacre of civilians was vastly overstated.”
In June 2011 an Amnesty International investigation failed to find corroborative evidence of mass human rights violations by government troops but did find that: “the rebels in Benghazi made false claims and manufactured evidence” and that: “much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events …”
CONDEMNATION; AIDING ISIS
The Committee wrote damningly: “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.”
Moreover: “The deployment of coalition air assets shifted the military balance in the Libyan civil war in favour of the rebels”, with: “The combat performance of rebel ground forces enhanced by personnel and intelligence provided by States such as the UK, France, Turkey and other regional players.” Lord Richards informed that the UK “had a few people embedded” with the rebel forces.
Arms and tanks were also provided to the rebels by members of the “coalition” in contravention of Resolution 1973.
Was the aim of the assault regime change or civilian protection? Lord Richard said: “one thing morphed almost ineluctably in to the other.”
The Committee summarized: “The UK’s intervention in Libya was reactive and did not comprise action in pursuit of a strategic objective. This meant that a limited intervention to protect civilians drifted into a policy of regime change by military means.” (Emphasis added.)
The Cameron-led UK government had “focused exclusively on military intervention”, under the National Security Council, a Cabinet Committee created by David Cameron.
The Committee’s final observation is:
“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. The Government must commission an independent review of the operation of the NSC … It should be informed by the conclusions of the Iraq Inquiry and examine whether the weaknesses in governmental decision-making in relation to the Iraq intervention in 2003 have been addressed by the introduction of the NSC.”
Cameron who said he wanted to be “heir to Blair” seems to have ended up as just that, pivotal cheerleader for the butchery of a sovereign leader, most of his family, government and the destruction of a nation.
“Muammar Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa . However, by the time he was assassinated, Libya was unquestionably Africa ‘s most prosperous nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy in Africa and less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands. Libyans did not only enjoy free health care and free education, they also enjoyed free electricity and interest free loans. The price of petrol was around $0.14 per liter and 40 loaves of bread cost just $0.15. Consequently, the UN designated Libya the 53rd highest in the world in human development.” (2)
End note: David Cameron jumped ship yet a third time – he refused to give evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
The full text of the Committee’s findings: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/119/11905.htm#_idTextAnchor023
(Main Image – David Cameron, right, in Libya with NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil and French president Nicholas Sarkozy in Tripoli grandstanding a ‘victory’. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuter)