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House of Commons Slams Libya Invasion; ‘Responsible’ Cameron Quits

Sept. 14, 2016 (EIRNS)—In what is being described as another Chilcot report, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee released a "scathing" report on former Prime Minister David Cameron’s war on Libya. It charges that Britain’s invasion of Libya was ill-conceived, and puts the blame directly on Cameron. Cameron, who resigned from the Parliament on Monday just before the report appeared, had refused to testify before the committee.

The report slammed the fact that with no proper intelligence analysis, the operation transformed itself into the unannounced goal of regime change and shirked its moral responsibility to help reconstruct the country.

"There is a debate about whether that intervention was necessary and on what basis it was taken, but having been achieved, the whole business then elided into regime change and then we had no proper appreciation of what was going to happen in the event of regime change, no proper understanding of Libya, and no proper plan for the consequences,"

Foreign Affairs Committee chair Crispin Blunt said.

The result of the intervention, the report said, was

political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Qaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL [Islamic State]. Through his decision-making in the national security council, former Prime Minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible...."

On the change of goal from protection of civilians to regime change, the report states: "If the primary object of the coalition intervention was the urgent need to protect civilians in Benghazi, then this objective was achieved in March 2011 in less than 24 hours. This meant that a limited intervention to protect civilians drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change by military means."

Sir Alan Duncan, a serving Foreign Office minister, is quoted as describing the plans for postwar planning as fanciful rot. The committee concurred, saying:

"The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Libyan connections with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda.

"We have seen no evidence that the U.K. government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya. It may be that the U.K. government was unable to analyse the nature of the rebellion in Libya due to incomplete intelligence and insufficient institutional insight.... It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Qaddafi regime; it selectively took elements of Muammar Qaddafi’s rhetoric at face value; and it failed to identify the militant Islamist extremist element in the rebellion. U.K. strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence."

In a faint response to the report, a Foreign Office spokesman cited the Arab League (i.e., Saudis’) call for the intervention; and the UN Security Council resolution (which approved only protection of civilians, not deposing or assassinating the head of state).

Britain’s Guardian comments that the report is also bad news for Hillary Clinton, who, as Secretary of State at the time, was a full partner.

The report vindicates charges made by Russia that Britain, France, and the United States had double-crossed Russia when it supported the UN intervention.

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