The Misguided and Mismanaged Intervention in Libya: Consequences for Peace

Posted: 11 Apr 2017

Date Written: March 6, 2016


In this paper, I critically analyse the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), as it relates to the responsibility of intervening forces towards the people they claim to protect and the challenges that the situation in Libya now poses in the region and for the African Union (AU). I focus most of my attention on the coercive elements of the RtoP framework (Pillar III). This is the most contested element in the framework. Three questions guide this article: were there legitimate grounds to justify an external intervention in Libya? In the words of Hugh Roberts in Who Said Gaddafi Had to Go, ‘[w]hat if anything has Libya got in exchange for all the death and destruction that have been visited on it’ since 2011? What are the practical implications and consequences of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intervention, led by the United States (US), for regional peace? I discuss the problems surrounding the US–NATO intervention, followed by an analysis of the various positions and narratives leading up to the intervention, the framing and justifications provided for the intervention, and an analysis of the AU's proposal for the resolution of the Libyan crisis. I analyse the various debates that took place in the US (Pentagon/White House), at the United Nations, among scholars in the West and in Africa, and among various actors who tried to broker a ceasefire in Libya before and during the intervention. I conclude with a discussion of the implications for regional peace.

Keywords: Responsibility to Protect (R2P), NATO, Libya, African Union's Peace and Security Architecture, UN Resolution 1973, humanitarian intervention

Suggested Citation

Zambakari, Christopher, The Misguided and Mismanaged Intervention in Libya: Consequences for Peace (March 6, 2016). Available at SSRN:

Christopher Zambakari (Contact Author)

The Zambakari Advisory, LLC ( email )

P.O. Box 18691
Phoenix, AZ ARIZONA (AZ) 85005
United States
6026709326 (Phone)


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