America's Little-Known Mission to Support Al Qaeda's Role in Libya

Reuters
August 13, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Middle East Tags: Al QaedaLibyaWarMuammar El-QaddafiRebellion

America's Little-Known Mission to Support Al Qaeda's Role in Libya

The rebellion in Libya was led by Islamist veterans of wars in the Middle East. Thus, the United States and its allies, not realizing it at the time, intervened to support a group of terrorists.

Ironically, in 2011, the swiftness of intervention in Libya was touted as a historic success that would help codify the emerging norm of the “Responsibility to Protect.” In retrospect, such haste empowered Islamic militants, amplified human suffering and created a failed state—all of which has undermined international support for any future humanitarian intervention.

 

Alan J. Kuperman is Associate Professor at the lbj School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin. His books include The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention: Genocide in Rwanda (Brookings) and Constitutions and Conflict Management in Africa: Preventing Civil War through Institutional Design (Penn Press). He has been a Fellow at the Wilson Center and a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

The author thanks Patrick Harned for research assistance and gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Policy Research Institute of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Image: Reuters