Islamic Youth Council in Derna, which is now “part of the Islamic State”
Libya has come a long way – and not at all for the good – since David Cameron proclaimed that the successful campaign to overthrow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 provided the perfect template for undertaking future military interventions.
After all the political controversy engendered by Britain’s previous military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, Downing Street prided itself on the fact that its Libyan campaign objectives were accomplished without the need for any boots on the ground and, more importantly, without incurring a single British combat casualty.
For a few months after Gaddafi’s demise, Mr Cameron basked in the warm afterglow of his first personal experience of military conflict, even making triumphant visits to Tripoli and Benghazi, where he was greeted by cheering crowds. Indeed, the belief among senior ministers that Libya constituted a great foreign policy success persisted long after the country had descended into chaos, with lawless bands of Islamist militias roaming the country, killing and kidnapping their opponents with impunity.
These days Libya is so demonstrably a basket case that, with the general election campaign now well under way, I very much doubt we will be hearing any more idle boasts from Tory politicians about their hollow achievements in the country…
I am wondering if the removal of Gaddafi also helped Boko Haram. The nation was stuffed to gills with weapons. Many went to Syria. Did they also go to Nigeria?
Libya is not that far from northern Nigeria.