The Cauldron

NATO’s Campaign in Libya

Rob Weighill


Florence Gaub

Attacking conventional wisdom, Weighill and Gaub argue that NATO’s intervention in Libya was soundly conceived and executed.

Bibliographic Details
The Cauldron Hardback
August 2018£40.00
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In March 2011, NATO launched a mission hitherto entirely unthinkable: to protect civilians against Libya’s ferocious regime, solely from the air. NATO had never operated in North Africa, or without troops on the ground; it also had never had to move as quickly as it did that spring. It took seven months, 25,000 air sorties, 7,000 combat strike missions, 3,100 maritime hailings and nearly 400 boardings for Tripoli to fall.

This book tells for the first time the whole story of this international drama, spanning the hallways of the United Nations in New York, NATO Headquarters in Brussels and, crucially, the two operational epicentres: the Libyan battlefield, and Joint Force Command Naples, which was in charge of the mission.

Weighill and Gaub offer a comprehensive exploration of both the war’s progression and the many challenges NATO faced, from its extremely rapid planning and limited understanding of Libya and its forces, to training shortfalls and the absence of post-conflict planning. Theirs is a long-awaited account of the Libyan war: one that truly considers all the actors involved.


Rob Weighill is a retired major-general and independent defence consultant, who spent five years at NATO’s multinational headquarters in Naples. He led the planning of NATO’s Libyan intervention and directed operations from Joint Force Command.

Florence Gaub is a senior analyst at the EU Institute for Security Studies; previously, she was employed at NATO Defence College. Her first book for Hurst, Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania, was published by Hurst in March 2017.