Obama: Aftermath of Libya my worst mistake in office

A failure to adequately plan for the aid and governing of Libya after the US-led Nato attacks in 2011 “probably” was his biggest error in office, President Barack Obama has said.

Asked about the “worst mistake” of his soon-to-end White House years, Mr Obama listed the aftermath of the ouster and death of Muammar Gaddafi, even as he defended the intervention.

He added that intervening in Libya “was the right thing to do”. 

The Libya operation and its chaotic aftermath has been resurrected in the 2016 presidential campaign, in part because of the increasing presence of Islamic State there, and US airstrikes to disrupt its operation.

Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, as Mr Obama’s secretary of state, strongly supported the intervention. In a 2011 interview with CBS News when still secretary, Ms Clinton said of Gaddafi, “We came. We saw. He died.”

At a March 7 town hall meeting, Ms Clinton said what has happened since then “is deeply regrettable. 

There have been forces coming from the outside, internal squabbles that have led to the instability that has given terrorist groups, including ISIS, a foothold in some parts of Libya”.

“I think it’s fair to say, however, if there had not been” an intervention “we would be looking at something much more resembling Syria now, than what we faced in Libya,” she said.


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