Five years after Gaddafi’s death, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former head of NATO and former Danish prime minister, spoke to Al Jazeera English’s current affairs show, Upfront, about the 2011 Libyan intervention.
“It was really a model intervention,” he told host Medhi Hasan. “A precision operation with a minimum of civilian casualties, a minimum of collateral damage.”
Rasmussen was the secretary-general of NATO during the 2011 military intervention in Libya and helped organise the international coalition.
A recent report by the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee found that, as a result of NATO’s intervention, Libya has seen political and economic collapse, internal warfare, humanitarian and refugee crisis, the growth of ISIL, and the spread of Gaddafi’s weapons across the region.
Rasmussen criticised the United States and the international community for failing to provide post-intervention leadership. “It’s an unfortunate example that the US did not provide the necessary leadership,” he said. “Whenever in the future we engage in military operations, such operations should be accompanied by a well thought-through political strategy for handling the post-conflict situation.”
Hasan asked Rasmussen about Hillary Clinton’s role in the military intervention and whether she bares any responsibility for the current instability in Libya. “She doesn’t bear responsibility for the mess in Libya today,” said Rasmussen. “I don’t think you can blame Hillary Clinton or NATO.”
When asked by Hasan whether his conscience was clear over his own role in the intervention, given the subsequent violence, Rasmussen responded, “Yeah. Absolutely… Because we started an operation based on a UN mandate. We concluded after having solved that problem.”