US President Slams Britain, France over Libya Crisis

US President Slams Britain, France over Libya Crisis
Fri Mar 11, 2016 17:14:32

US President Barack Obama has criticized America’s traditional allies, the United Kingdom and France, over their Libya policy in the aftermath of the 2011 overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

In an interview with the Atlantic magazine, Obama said he was wrong to believe the allies would be "invested in the follow-up" to Gaddafi’s ouster.

“When I go back and I ask myself what went wrong, there’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up,” Obama said.

In March 2011, a coalition of Western countries, including the United States, the UK and France, launched missile and airstrikes on Libya in a bid to help oust Gaddafi following a national uprising.

Gaddafi was deposed later that year in the wake of the fall of capital Tripoli on August 20. Although pockets of resistance by pro-Gaddafi forces held out for another two months, especially in his hometown of Sirte, which he declared the new capital on September 1, his long-time rule and life came to an end after Sirte's capture by Libyan fighters on October 20, 2011.

But militant groups, seizing up the power vacuum in Gaddafi’s wake, wreaked havoc on the country, leaving the country’s situation a “mess” as described by Obama.

The US president believes Libya’s chaos, which has now turned the North African state into a safe haven for Daesh (ISIL) terrorists, has less to do with American incompetence than with the passivity of Washington’s allies.

Obama criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron, in particular, for becoming "distracted by a range of other things" rather than focusing on Libya.

He also censured France’s ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy for being ‘too eager’ to take credit for the Western military intervention against Gaddafi.

"Sarkozy wanted to trumpet the flights he was taking in the air campaign," Obama said, "despite the fact that [the US] had wiped out all the air defenses and essentially set up the entire infrastructure."

A UN report published Thursday said that ISIL had "significantly expanded" its territory in Libya.

"While ISIL does not currently generate direct revenue from the exploitation of oil in Libya, its attacks against oil installations seriously compromise the country's economic stability," the six-member panel said, adding, "Libyans have increasingly fallen victim to the terrorist group's brutalities, culminating in several mass killings."

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