DAMNING VERDICT: Former British prime minister, David Cameron
WHILE HE may have made a swift exit from politics, the legacy of Britain’s former Prime Minister David Cameron has been marred following a report that has blamed him for the rise of extremist group, IS and the instability in Libya.
MPs from the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said there was no coherent strategy for how to deal with the aftermath of the north African country when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown.
The mission dubbed a “s**t show” by US President Barack Obama has been similarly condemned by MPs who accused Cameron of turning what what was meant to be a limited intervention operation into an ‘opportunist policy of regime change’ based on inadequate intelligence.
The damning report suggests that the result of Cameron’s actions led to political and economic collapse, civil war, humanitarian crisis and the rise of Islamic State (IS) in north Africa
The entire operation was based on ‘erroneous assumptions’, the parliamentary inquiry found.
An international coalition led by Britain and France launched a campaign of air and missile strikes against Gaddafi’s forces in March 2011 after the regime threatened to attack the rebel-held city of Benghazi.
Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, who chairs the select committee, said the original aim of the military intervention to protect Benghazi was achieved within 24 hours.
“There is a debate about whether that intervention was necessary and on what basis it was taken, but having been achieved, the whole business then elided into regime change and then we had no proper appreciation of what was going to happen in the event of regime change, no proper understanding of Libya, and no proper plan for the consequences,” he said.
Cameron at the time argued the intervention was necessary to prevent a massacre of civilians but the committee said the available evidence showed that, despite his appalling human rights abuses over 40 years, Gaddafi had no record of large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians.
The report said that the Government "selectively took elements of Gaddafi's rhetoric at face value" while there was no evidence it had carried out a proper analysis or exhausted other measures including Tony Blair’s “contacts and influence” to try to secure Gaddafi’s exit and a “negotiated solution”.
None of the countries involved were prepared to commit the resources to secure the large stockpiles of weapons in Libya, even though the Government realised this was necessary, the report said.
As the leaders of the coalition, it said Britain and France had a "particular responsibility" to support Libyan reconstruction but the failure to establish security of on the ground meant it was an "impossible task".
The committee called for an independent review of the way decision were taken by the National Security Council (NSC).
The report added: "By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya."
Blunt added: "The international community must now get behind the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord to prevent the country descending into all-out civil war."
A Foreign Office spokesman said the decision to intervene in Libya was an international one, called for by the Arab League and authorised by the UN Security Council.
"Muammar Gaddafi was unpredictable and he had the means and motivation to carry out his threats," the spokesman said.
"His actions could not be ignored and required decisive and collective international action. Throughout the campaign we stayed within the United Nations mandate to protect civilians.”
Cameron formally resigned as the British Prime Minister in June following the EU Referendum which saw 52 per cent of the country vote to leave the European Union.
He had initially pledged to remain on the back benches as the MP for the Witney constituency before announcing his shock resignation on Monday - triggering a by-election for his seat.