Études de l'Ifri Focus Stratégique
Michael W. KOMETER, Stephen E. WRIGHT

Winning in Libya: By Design or Default? Focus stratégique, No. 41, January 2013

The 2011 insurgency in Libya brought about the demise of Supreme Leader Mouammar Qadhafi. A NATO-led coalition operated to meet a unique United Nations mandate including an arms embargo, no-fly zone, and the requirement to protect the population from armed attack.

Winning in Libya: By Design or Default?

While the United Nations Security Council resolutions did not direct regime change, many key political leaders saw it as a highly desired outcome of the conflict. This divergence in objective led to a lack of clear political guidance at the strategic level, which often translated into somewhat inconsistent military planning at the operational level. The authors contend that this confusion tends to demonstrate that the means as well as the final result were reached by default rather than by design. The gap that was experienced between policy and military operations may impact NATO’s future operations and political cohesion. In turn, the Libyan case, which underlines the need to develop consistent strategy and military plans, may deliver insights for strategists and planners, especially for the air component.


Winning in Libya: By Design or Default?
North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO United Nations Western Military Intervention Libya