Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani has condemned the killing of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
“Tajani described the decision to allow Gaddafi to be killed as a serious mistake made by the Western powers”.
In a recent event in Tuscany, Tajani expressed his views on the matter, stating that the United States and NATO allies committed a major blunder by supporting the overthrow of Gaddafi in a 2011 regime change operation. He described the chaos and conflict that followed Gaddafi’s death as a direct consequence of this decision.
Muammar Gaddafi, who was executed by US- and UK-backed militants during a NATO military intervention, had been the head of state in Libya for many years. Despite admitting that Gaddafi was not a champion of democracy, Tajani argued that his administration was certainly better than what came after.
Tajani emphasised that the political instability and subsequent troubles that plagued Libya following Gaddafi’s ousting and murder were worse than during his rule.
He pointed out that his administration had maintained an agreement with Gaddafi that effectively managed migratory flows and ensured a more stable situation in the country.
The Italian minister’s comments highlight the consequences of Gaddafi’s demise and the subsequent power vacuum created in Libya.
The NATO intervention, conducted under the guise of a no-fly zone during the country’s civil war, resulted in a fractured nation with multiple factions vying for control.
Tajani’s stance on the matter underscores Italy’s unique perspective, as the country is geographically close to Libya and has been directly impacted by the influx of migrants and the rise of extremist groups in the region. Italy, in particular, has faced significant challenges in managing the migration crisis that emanated from Libya following Gaddafi’s death.
Although Washington and its allies initially presented their intervention in Libya as a humanitarian effort to protect civilians, an investigation by the UK House of Commons later revealed that the threat to civilians had been exaggerated. Furthermore, Western powers had overlooked the presence of Islamist groups within the anti-Gaddafi militants.
The aftermath of the regime change operation left Libya divided among multiple competing governments, each vying for legitimacy and control. These factions have continued to engage in conflict over the years, eventually aligning themselves with either the UN-backed Government of National Accord or General Khalifa Haftar and the Libyan House of Representatives.
The death of Gaddafi also led to a resurgence of terrorism across North Africa, with ISIS and Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups establishing strongholds in Libya and beyond. By July 2014, it was estimated that around 1,600 militant factions were active in Libya – a significant increase from the 300 recorded in 2011 according to the US Institute of Peace.
In addition, reports have connected the crisis in Libya to an increase in arms proliferation throughout Nigeria, Mali, and other Sahelian countries. The impact of this crisis has reverberated across the region, exacerbating instability and insecurity.