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NATO and Lybia: an Indefensible Intervention Into a Sovereign State


  • NATO’s military involvement Lybia in 2011(Dunne and Gifkins 2011)
  • 13 NATO countries (Fabbrini 2014)
  • Overthrowing Gaddafi’s regime (Hamm 2015)
  • Official justification: protecting people in Lybia (Glanville 2012)
  • Prolonged political crisis in the country (Seeberg 2014)

NATO’s military involvement in Lybia was initiated in 2011 (Dunne and Gifkins 2011). 13 NATO countries coordinated their efforts in the military, logistic, and diplomatic spheres (Fabrini 2014). The US and UK forces played the major role in the operations and were directly responsible for the decision to use more than 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles against Lybia. The NATO  forces aimed at overthrowing Gaddafi’s regime due to its undemocratic essence and the systematic violations of citizens’ rights (Hamm 2015). The official justification for the military intervention was protecting people in Lybia although it was questioned by many independent experts (Granville 2012). As a result, the political crisis in the country was not resolved after the regime change (Seeberg 2014). On the contrary, it intensified further with several opposing forces in Lybia.


  • Political motivation of intervention (Alistar 2012)
  • Violating the rights of the sovereign state (Kielsgard 2012)
  • Attempts to establish control over resources (Williams and Popken 2012)
  • Disturbing the system of international relations (Chadefaux 2014)
  • Damage to NATO’s reputation (Mili 2013)

The substantial criticism was initiated against the NATO forces for such large-scale intervention in Lybia. The political motivation of military involvement was evident especially by the US and UK (Alistar 2012). The objective analysis of the situation reveals that such measures should be interpreted as the violation of rights of the sovereign state (Kielsgard 2012). Moreover, some experts claimed the underlying reason of the intervention being the attempts to establish the Western control over resources in the region (Williams and Popken 2012). Thus, the economic motives could prevail over humanitarian ones. In addition, such intervention disturbed the system of international relations as it creates the precedent of the military intervention in the foreign country (Chadefaux 2014). In general, the damage to the NATO reputation appears to be very serious. Previously, it was believed to be an organization oriented exclusively to the defense of its partners (Mili 2013). However, the case of Lybia indicates the possibility of open military interventions.

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