All Necessary Measures? The United Nations and International Intervention in Libya w/ Ian Martin

5 May 2022 – 14:00 - 15:00 BST
CAABU (online event)
Caabu invites you to an online book launch with former UN special representative of the UN Secretary General in Libya, Ian Martin.
Ian will be discussing his book, All Necessary Measures?: The United Nations and International Intervention in Libya on Thursday 5 May at 2pm (BST UK time). This book launch will be chaired by Nicolas Pelham, The Economist‘s Middle East Correspondent.

Register for this online briefing here.

Ian Martin will discuss his book about the decision of the UN Security Council to authorise military intervention in Libya and its implementation, as well as his time as special representative of the secretary-general on the ground, establishing the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for its first year of operations. It was a remarkable challenge and he will share his reflections on this period looking at the international role in Libya which was so crucial.

About the book

The UN’s former representative on the ground in Libya offers his verdict on how the NATO mission unfolded, then unravelled. Could it have been otherwise?

The international intervention after the 2011 Libyan uprising against Muammar Gaddafi was initially considered a remarkable success: the UN Security Council’s first application of the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine; an impending civilian massacre prevented; and an opportunity for democratic forces to lead Libya out of a forty-year dictatorship. But such optimism was soon dashed.

Successive governments failed to establish authority over the ever-proliferating armed groups; divisions among regions and cities, Islamists and others, split the country into rival administrations and exploded into civil war; external intervention escalated. Ian Martin gives his first-hand view of the questions raised by the international engagement. Was it a justified response to the threat against civilians? What brought about the Security Council resolutions, including authorising military action? How did NATO act upon that authorisation? What role did Special Forces operations play in the rebels’ victory? Was a peaceful political settlement ever possible? What post-conflict planning was undertaken, and should or could there have been a major peacekeeping or stabilisation mission during the transition? Was the first election held too soon?

As Western interventions are reassessed and Libya continues to struggle for stability, this is a unique account of a critical period, by a senior international official who was close to the events.

About the author

Ian Martin has led UN human rights and peace operations in countries including Rwanda, Timor-Leste, Nepal and Libya. A former Amnesty International secretary-general, in 2011–12 he was Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s post-conflict planning adviser, then UN support mission head, for Libya. His publications on UN intervention include Self-Determination in East Timor.

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