Libya was my ‘worst mistake’: Obama

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Washington:- US President Barack Obama says his “worst mistake” in the past eight years has been the mishandling of the crisis in Libya after the US-backed ouster of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Obama said his “worst mistake” was “probably failing to plan for, the day after, what I think was the right thing to do, in intervening in Libya.”

This is while in a BBC interview two weeks ago, Obama had raised a similar point, adding “that’s a lesson I now apply when we are asked to intervene militarily. Do we have a plan for the day after?”

In March 2011, a coalition of US-backed Western countries, including the UK and France, launched missile and air strikes on Libya in a bid to help oust Gaddafi following a national uprising.

Gaddafi was deposed later that year shortly after the fall of the capital Tripoli on August 20.

But the ensuing power vacuum allowed various militant groups, including a Daesh affiliate, to gain power in the country and exploit its natural resources.

Both Obama and then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton keep arguing that Gaddafi’s overthrow did not incite the Libyan crisis and the chaos was rather caused by the coalition’s failure to prop up a stable government in the days following.

Obama has also put part of the blame on two traditional US allies, France and the UK, saying he was wrong to believe they 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.

Obama slammed British Prime Minister David Cameron, in particular, for getting “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.

Meanwhile, back in March a six-member UN panel published their report, stating that Daesh had “significantly expanded” its territory in Libya and was posing a severe threat to the country’s oil installations.

“Libyans have increasingly fallen victim to the terrorist group’s brutalities, culminating in several mass killings,” the report added.

 

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