A close call. It is tempting to view the chaos in Libya today as yet one more demonstration of the futility of U.S.-led military interventions. That is precisely the case that Alan Kuperman makes in his article (“Obama’s Libya Debacle,” March/April 2015), which asserts that NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya was “an abject failure” that set free Libya’s vast conventional weapons stockpiles, gave rise to extremist groups, and even exacerbated the conflict in Syria.
The potential chaos highlighted by a 2011 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Contingency Planning Memorandum, "Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya," has come to fruition. Daniel P. Serwer outlines the unfolding crisis and recommends steps the United States, Europe, and Arab countries can take to help mitigate the fallout.
The U.S. intervention in Libya was a complete failure. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths there have increased, and the country now serves as a safe haven for terrorists.
Ever since an international coalition led by NATO forces helped topple the regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011, governance there has been in shambles. Recently the fighting among rival militias has escalated dramatically, and there is no political solution on the horizon.
This report about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi was released on January 15, 2014. It discusses how the attack could have been prevented and according to the New York Times, it is "the first public examination of a breakdown in communications between the State Department and the C.I.A. during the weeks leading up to the deadly episode at the diplomatic compound." The Accountability Review Board released an unclassified report on the embassy attacks in December 2012.
Three State Department officials testified at the Committee for Oversight and Government Reform on May 8, 2013. The Accountability Review Board released an unclassified report on the embassy attacks in December 2012.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan gave these remarks on March 13, 2013. They discussed Libya's revolution and recently appointed government, U. S. and Libyan coordination regarding the embassy attack at Benghazi, and the new Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chief of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 7, 2013, about the September attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya and the response of the Defense Department. Panetta's and Dempsey's prepared remarks and video of the hearing are available on the Committee's website.
"Last September's terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi left the unmistakable impression of a country teetering on a knife-edge. Yet despite its struggles, Libya is hardly on the brink of anarchy."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 23, 2013, about the September attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya and the response of the State Department.
The September 11 killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans during an attack by an angry mob on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has concentrated the world's attention on the problems of post-Qaddafi Libya.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »