Did Obama Asist In The Deafeat Of Muammar Gaddafi

Background Information

President Barack Obama was in office when the North African Arab country of Libya experienced significant changes in its government. The country had been governed by Muammar Gaddafi since 1969, a period spanning over 40 years. Gaddafi’s mission was to maintain Libya’s independence and lead it through phases of modernization and development. However, throughout the years, his rule was marked by human rights violations, international sanctions from the United Nations and no-fly zones from numerous countries.
These tumultuous years of Gaddafi’s rule led to protests and a revolution starting in 2011 and eventually civil war. With his own people ultimately turning against him, Gaddafi’s attempts to regain and maintain power were to no avail and he was eventually overthrown and killed that same year. The exact circumstances of his death remain disputed.

Obama’s Involvement

A significant factor in the events preceding and leading to the demise of Gaddafi was the involvement of President Barack Obama. In the immediate aftermath of the start of the Libyan civil war, Obama and other countries issued warnings to Gaddafi, but also imposed sanctions and passed two UN Security Council resolutions.
The first resolution, Resolution 1970 (2011), imposed economic sanctions on Libya and referenced the need to ‘address the current crisis and avert further bloodshed’. The second resolution, Resolution 1973 (2011), established a no-fly zone over Libya in order to ‘protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi’.
Additionally, Obama maintained contact with leaders from other countries, asking them to condemn the use of force against civilians, strengthen the resolution and cooperate with the US for the sake of Libyan citizens.

Mobilization of US Support

Despite the warnings, sanctions and resolution, Gaddafi continued to attack innocent civilians. To ensure proactive steps were taken to protect the people of Libya, Obama ordered the US military to help protect civilians and enforce the United Nations Security Council resolutions – this included airstrikes and a multi-force mission in the Mediterranean.
Subsequent to this mobilization, Obama called on the international community to actively seek out Gaddafi to bring him to justice, while continuing to protect the civilians in Libya. He also asked the United Nations to strive towards a diplomatic solution and work on the transitional process.

Libyan Intervention

The Libyan intervention is the name given for the mobilization of support for the Libyan people in the form of US airstrikes against Gaddafi’s forces. This was a result of the government’s violence against civilians and the need to adhere to the resolution of the United Nations Security Council.
This intervention was seen as a successful mission as it assisted in the protection of civilian life and led to the assassination of Gaddafi in October 2011. This also safeguarded NATO’s interests in the country’s stability and security, as well as it’s oil processing activities.

Analysis and Assessment

Many experts deem President Obama’s intervention in Libya to be the right move. His decision to enforce UN Resolutions 1970 and 1973, sent out a strong message to Gaddafi that his actions were simply not acceptable.
Added to this, the Obama administration played an important role in supporting NATO’s efforts in dislodging Gaddafi, providing resources and personnel in carrying out military operations. A significant part of this was the air units used to hit military targets, leading to a weakening of Gaddafi’s forces and ultimately Gaddafi’s death and the ousting of his regime.
Dr. Matthew Crosston, professor at the International Institute for CounterTerrorism (ICT) in Israel, states that Obama “displayed a tremendous capacity for making calls that seemed to be difficult in the international community that had weak abilities to take action before the Obama administration, and then jumped into full gear with a well-articulated strategy for intervention”.

Political Repercussions

Countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Italy provided resources and logistical support to help remove Gaddafi from power and also to guide the new transitional government into creating a stable and secure Libya.
These countries fully supported Obama’s interventions and try to encourage a diplomatic approach to conflicts. The build up leading to and during the Libyan intervention was a pivotal moment in modern foreign policy.
The reason behind Obama’s devotion to the mission was due to his understanding of the humanitarian implications of the situation and his stance on supporting democracy and human rights.

International Perception

Due to the military intervention in Libya, prior to the Arab Spring, there had been a general perception that democracy, stability and human rights could be achieved by foreign intervention.
As Crosston affirms, Obama, through his actions in Libya, ‘cleverly and “gently” inserted the US into the other Arab nations that were actively experiencing turmoil, without creating the direct impression that the US was attempting to insert military or political forces upon them.
He notes ‘Obama was the face to many of these interventions, and if not a guiding hand then at least an approving presence.’ This approval and support for the mission in Libya, generated further pressures on other countries and leaders exhibiting human rights violations and similar injustices.

Conclusion and Usefulness of the Intervention

The actions of President Obama and the international community in intervening in the civil war between the Libyan Government and the opposition forces resulted in a successful mission for the protection of Libyan people and for the elimination of Muammar Gadaffi’s rule.
In implementing UN Resolutions and other measures, the international community was able to create a secure and stable environment for Libyan citizens and their democratic freedoms; however, it was unclear whether the outcome of this mission would be of any real benefit to the people of Libya.
But nonetheless, the intervention was seen as a means of gauging the balance between use of military force and long-term stability, although it remains uncertain whether this mission truly benefitted the Libyan people in anyway.

Rebuilding Infrastructure

The war in Libya lasted seven months and ensued significant damage to property and infrastructure. One of the main priorities then became rebuilding the the Libyan infrastructure. Through a host of measures, the international community sought to help rebuild and develop the infrastructure.
The Libyan economy took considerably long to recover, not only due to the previous war years but also due to sanctions and low levels of development prior to this. The economy’s post-war recovery had made some progress, however, the eastern region remains unstable and prone to political strife, due to the persistence of militia groups.
The fall of Gaddafi’s government in 2011 left Libya in chaos and fragmented economic, social and political lifes. An International Monetary Fund Report from 2012 states that the country was facing considerable economic and security challenges, such as high unemployment and rising non-oil related public spending.
The IMF went on to state that corruption had become widespread and that the security situation remained volatile and unpredictable. In 2012, the US had committed to provide 250 million dollars to support Libya’s economic and political progress.

Long-term Benefits of the Intervention

The intervention in Libya has aimed not only to oust Gaddafi, but also to promote free and fair elections, justice, and reconciliation; as well as create a new government inclusive of all Libyans. This includes the promotion of human rights and support for the transitional authorities to ensure the stability of the country.
One of the most significant benefits to come out of the intervention is the chance to restructure and reallocate resources to areas of the economy and society which were previously neglected. For example, investment in areas of the economic and social life was implemented, benefiting citizens such as improved electricity output and more jobs.
These changes have enabled the country to diversify it’s economy and reduce the reliance on oil for economic growth and other aspects of public spending.

Analysis of Long-Term Impact

Overall, since the interventions of Obama, NATO and the United Nations, plus support from other nations, Libya has become an example of success; with the country’s GDP growth increasing from 0.6% before the interventions to 1.8% currently.
This demonstrates a return to stability of sorts, due in a large part to the assistance offered. Although the efforts in Libya have been through the need to protect civilians and exercise the UN resolutions, the outcomes of Obama’s involvement have been positive, leading to a large extent to a return to peace.
Though certain areas of the economy are still underdeveloped and there are still ongoing clashes in some areas of the country, it is safe to say that Gaddafi’s fall from power has led to a drastic improvement in the general well-being and quality of life of its people.

Political and Social Impact

The intervention was met with mixed reactions from the citizens of Libya, as well as from the international community. The public sentiment in Libya was very divided with some viewing the mission as a necessary means of achieving human rights in the country and others viewing the intervention as a tool of foreign power to politically benefit from Libya’s economy.
In the international realm, the mission was generally accepted in some regions of the world and was met with heated discourse in others. One example was the Russia, who criticized the US for its role in the operation without sanction from the United Nations Security Council.
Amidst the debates and discourse, significant progress was achieved in the Libyan political scene with the election of a new parliament and the ratification of a new constitution.

The Risk of another Civil War

Although the fall of Gaddafi and the international community’s involvement in Libya’s government transition has allowed the Libyan people to rebuild their state, in the absence of a strong central government, there are still risks that will linger until a full transition is achieved.
The risk of a second civil war is real for the country and there continues to be clashes between militia groups and Islamist factions, with some groups still loyal to Gaddafi’s vision.
The current Libyan government is faced with a difficult task of attempting to control these militant factions and create a unified and stable country; however, the lack of resources and a centralized government system makes this a difficult task. On top of that, the threat of escalation has been looming in recent times, with some areas of the country held by regional governments or regional faction groups.

Elizabeth Baker is an experienced writer and historian with a focus on topics related to famous world dictators. She has over 10 years of experience researching, writing, and editing history books and articles. Elizabeth is passionate about uncovering lost stories from the past and sharing interesting facts about some of the most notorious dictators in history. In her writing, she emphasizes how dictators can still affect modern-day politics and society. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington where she continues to write and research for her latest projects.

Leave a Comment