How Western Intervention Led To Libya Chaos

Britain's intervention in Libya, hailed as a triumph in 2011, is now looking more like a foreign policy disaster.

The UK and its Nato partners might have “won the war”, but the peace is being lost to chaos and brutality.

With no obvious political alternative to fill the void left by Muammar Gaddafi, the country has descended into violence and unrest.

The UK has failed to manage the transition into a strong and stable, peaceful country it had suggested would be the post-Gaddafi future.

Instead Libya has become a safe haven for terrorists, and a corridor for trafficking weapons and refugees.

Politicians are kidnapped, assassinations are commonplace and the official government has had to decamp to Tobruk, leaving Tripoli to a rival administration made up of Islamist and tribal groups.

Thousands of refugees from Syria and Libya are routinely attempting to make the crossing to Italy.

The video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian workers by IS-inspired militants is a gruesome demonstration of how far the country has fallen.

When he visited Libya in 2013, David Cameron declared: "In building the new Libya you have no greater friend that the UK. We will stand with you every step of the way."

The UK had promised to help train up a 15,000-strong Libyan force to maintain control in the country.

By November last year, Libyan recruits being trained in Cambridgeshire were being sent home after a sex offences scandal - the bill for their training still not met by the Libyan government.

The send in the military, train local forces, pull-out tactic is looking increasingly like wishful thinking as time goes on - not just in Libya but Iraq as well.

The Bush-Blair approach to Iraq has been blamed for the ease with which Islamic State has spread.

Speaking last year, Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2003, said: "We are reaping what we sowed in 2003.

"This is not hindsight. We knew in the run-up to war that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would seriously destabilise Iraq after 24 years of his iron rule."

However, Tony Blair says the spread of Islamic State is because Britain has not intervened enough.

In an essay late last year, he said the situation in Iraq was due to the West's failure to act in Syria, allowing the terrorists to establish a stranglehold there and grow in strength.

He is not alone when he argues that problems were caused by the 2011 uprisings across Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain were inevitable.

Strongmen fell and power vacuums were left - vacuums now being filled not with peace and democracy, but by those prepared to be more bloodthirsty and brutal than anyone else.