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Former PM 'relied on flawed intelligence'

Cameron accused over intervention in Libya

CameronDavid Cameron has been criticised for relying on “flawed intelligence” when he ordered Britain’s 2011 military intervention in Libya.

Just 48 hours after he announced his retirement from politics, MPs issued a damning report on the former Prime Minister’s handling of Britain’s involvement in the North African state.

The UK and France led hostilities in support of rebels which forced Libya’s then-leader Muammar Gaddafi in out of office.

Since then the country has plunged into near civil war, with Islamic State moving in and thousand of citizens fleeing across the sea to Europe.

Competing factions are fighting for control of the oil terminals and there is little overt global support for the government in Tripoli.

Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee says in its report that Mr Cameron must bear the responsibility for Britain’s role in the crisis.

Chairman and Tory MP Crispin Blunt said: “The UK’s actions in Libya were part of an ill-conceived intervention, the results of which are still playing out today.

“UK policy in Libya before and since the intervention of March 2011 was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the country and the situation.

“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.”

The statement says the “ultimate responsibility rests with David Cameron’s leadership”.

It said his government failed to identify from intelligence reports that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.

There was no proper intelligence analysis, and Mr Cameron’s government shirked its moral responsibility to help reconstruct the country.

Mr Cameron resigned as Prime Minister soon after losing the EU referendum and this week said he was leaving politics to avoid becoming a distraction for his successor Theresa May. A by election will be called in his Witney constituency in Oxfordshire.

Most commentators say that his term in office will be best remembered for the EU vote, but this report from the Foreign Affairs committee, the product of a parliamentary equivalent of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, closely resembles the criticisms made of Tony Blair’s intervention in Iraq. As such it may prove to be equally damaging to Mr Cameron’s legacy.

> As I See It: why Libya will be Camerons’ real legacy

 



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