The British government defended its decision to militarily intervene in Libya in 2011 and help to topple long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, after criticism was directed at it in a parliamentary report.
The Foreign Affairs Select Committee published a report in September that harshly criticised the decision made by then-prime minister David Cameron to join France in a military intervention to save the lives of civilians during the revolt against Gaddafi’s regime.
The committee described the British intervention as “based on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence.”
It also accused Cameron’s government of selectively taking the threats of Gaddafi at face value, suggesting that Gaddafi was full of bluster and did not seriously mean his threats.
The government responded today, stressing that its actions “undoubtedly” saved civilian lives in Libya, adding “Gaddafi was unpredictable and had the means and motivation to carry out his threats. His actions could not be ignored, and required decisive and collective international action.”
The critical report stated that Cameron should have been aware that “extremist Islamists would try to exploit the popular uprising,” noting that it did not find evidence that the British government had “correctly analysed” the nature of the various rebel factions.
On its part, the government stated in its response that the overwhelming majority of Gaddafi’s opponents have no links to the so-called Islamic extremism, noting that “Daesh are now on the back foot in Libya.”