March to Folly 2.0: The Next Western Military Intervention in Libya
Mattia Tolado of the European Council on Foreign Relations warned about the potential for future Western military action against ISIS in Libya. He notes that any action would be fraught with becoming a quagmire conditions in Libya could come to loosely mirror the failed war on terror against al-Qa’eda, especially if any Western military action fails to take account for the particularities of Libyan politics. The piece concludes by suggesting that in place of the failed GNA experiment a broad governing body should be formed to fulfill political and government duties through consensus and, hopefully, make future security and stability feasible.
Ultimately, ISIS in Libya as elsewhere is thriving because of ungoverned spaces. Any plan for intervention should address the question of who will govern any spaces freed from ISIS in order to be credible. And there is no way this can happen without Libyan involvement in devising the strategy, rather than being mere objects of it.
Needless to say, this alternative plan would need time and political courage to take shape. But it would have the advantage of providing a political strategy for any intervention and it would increase the chances that there is actually someone taking charge of territories from which ISIS withdraws – someone better than ISIS. Otherwise, the West would just have to return in five years for version 3.0.
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