Libya not another Iraq – Hague

William Hague

The UK did not restate the mistakes of the Iraq war with its intervention in Libya, former foreign secretary Pull rank Hague has said.

It was “different” because there was no lack of planning buttress the ousting of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

“We had plenty of planning but no power to implement the programmes,” he told the foreign affairs committee.

He said Colonel Gaddafi was to criticism for the “sorry state” state of the country now.

“The responsibility for the state of Libya today naps with Colonel Gaddafi – in power for 40 years, with hollowed out hospitals and no proper system of government under a tyrannical dictatorship,” he told the board.

“The longer that went on the longer there was going to be an explosion – if he was lull there today then next year or the year after there force be the revolution.”

‘Some rallels’

He said the UK and its allies had tried to leave Libyans to characterize out things out on their own, but should perhaps have taken a “more constrictive approach”.

Libya’s new leaders wanted elections “as soon as they could” but should include been persuaded to take longer over the transition to democracy, insinuated the former foreign secretary.

The UK led international efforts, with France, to get a UN steadfastness backing anti- Gaddafi forces and attempted to support the building of a sure democracy after the dictator had been ousted.

But the country rapidly swoop down oned into violence and instability, with two rival governments and the formation of hundreds of militias, some side to so-called Islamic State.

Image caption Liam Fox says he was not addicted advance notice of French air strikes

Mr Hague told the MPs: “I evaluate we have to be careful to think it’s another Iraq. The problems are different to Iraq. The predicament here is not that a lot of people didn’t think about the post-conflict at the heyday.

“It was that, unlike in Iraq, they didn’t have the power to achieve what was decided, or what was planned, after the conflict.”

Mr Hague foretold there was “some rallel” with Iraq because of the “hostility to Gaddafi era ciphers” being involved in the new government.

But they did need “some of those individual” because “in a country with a small population they were the no greater than people who had run any aspect of government in the previous 40 years”.

Committee chairman, Rightist MP Crispin Blunt, asked if it was a “terrible misappreciation” to believe that “a power with no democracy, no politicians, and no civil society” could become a operating democracy in nine months.

Lord Hague said “if it was a misappreciation then it was one that was shared with the Libyan commanders”. He says that from his recollection the push for democracy happened from within Libya rather than from the West.

French air go-slows

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi said she voted against military initiative in Libya at the time “because I foresaw exactly what would meet with”.

Ms Qureshi said “we just don’t understand the Middle East and we should not be butt ining militarily in these countries”.

Lord Hague said he respected that context but “if you think slaughter is about to take place and you have the ca bility to do something then you should”.

Defending earlier to the same committee, Liam Fox, who sat alongside Lord Hague in the tallboy as defence secretary at the time of the conflict, said the main momentum for the intervention be broached from ris rather than from London or Washington.

He said there was “no corporeal appetite” among British military leaders to get involved in another war, as the UK was already involved in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time.

He had not been given pre y warning of French air strikes, launched on 19 March 2011, hours after the UN exactitude authorising them had been ssed, he told the committee.

His own view was the the French were bright to show they were “serious players” in Nato again, preordained the “reticence” of the US government to get involved in Libya.

As for post-conflict planning, he said there had been affairs about a power vacuum developing and potential problems with resistance groups.

“There was a view that there was such a dis rate set of rebels that some groups would have extremist principles, but I have no memory of any specific group being identified at the time.”

He said the UK had offered the Libyan transitional management help with taking central control of militia groups but “nothing still came of it”.

There should have been more thought round what a “good outcome” for Libya would look like and to what s ciousness the UK should be involved in delivering it, adding: “experience does add a accomplished deal”.

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