After the ousting of Col. Qaddafi, Libya has experienced a constant state of instability. The latest round of confrontations marring the North African country pits forces loyal to a former Libyan military officer, Khalifa Heftar, against a number of Islamist militias. Ongoing violent confrontations in Libya recently spurred the United States to evacuate its staff from the US embassy in Tripoli.
Following are two interesting articles providing opposite assessments about the overall effect of the 2011 UN-sponsored NATO-led military intervention in Libya.
Conor Friedersdorf on The Atlantic criticizes the “successfulness” of 2011 intervention:
Most of all, I am struck by the willingness of prominent interventionists to have publicly declared their instincts in Libya vindicated when the country’s future remained very much in doubt, as if they couldn’t conceive of an intervention that would result in more lives lost than the alternative even as the possibility of that outcome was extremely plausible. As in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Washington, D.C. foreign-policy establishment seemed to perform no better at foreseeing how events would unfold than non-expert commentators who simply applied Murphy’s Law.
Hisham Matar on The New Yorker presents a different view:
Those who regret the end of Qaddafi’s regime ignore how the current chaos is the product of four decades of oppression. ‘Wasn’t Qaddafi better?’ is the wrong question, because it doesn’t illuminate the objective reality of post-revolutionary Libya. To understand today’s events, one must remember what life was like under Qaddafi. The state was designed around an individual and his family; it resembled more a Mafia than a political structure. And so ending the dictatorship meant ending the state […] In light of this history, creating a political atmosphere that permits and encourages difference and plurality will be difficult