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The unbearable ease of the Libya war

LIBYA / Following the Jan Petersen Committee's report on the Libya war in September 2018 – and after the Storting's lack of reactions – several academics are upset.


The committee had completely disregarded the catastrophic consequences of the war, it had no interest in who Norway and NATO had bombed for victory, and it had not sought to find out whether there was cover for the allegation that Muammar Gaddafi's forces had attacked civilians – the claim that had legitimized the war in March 2011. It was Rune Ottosen, professor emeritus at OsloMet, Tormod Heier, professor and lieutenant colonel at the Norwegian Defense College, and Terje Tvedt, professor of history at the University of Bergen, to initiate a broad investigation of the Libya war.

The result of the war was political and economic collapse, war between militias and tribes, a humanitarian crisis and a refugee crisis.

believes that the Petersen Committee's weaknesses were about a narrow mandate and
incompetence. But if Petersen had meant it was necessary to extend the mandate
had he been able to do so, and already two years earlier – in September 2016 -
published the British House of Commons' investigation, which was a crushing critique:
many were from the beginning aware that the uprising was marked by militants
Islamists and that there was no coverage for the claim that Gaddafi had
attacked civilians or would start killing civilians. The report also showed that
the war was a disaster:

«The result was political and financial collapse, war between militias and tribes, a humanitarian crisis and
a refugee crisis, extensive breach of
human rights, proliferation of the Gaddafi regime
weapons throughout the region, and the emergence of ISIL in North Africa
. "

The authorities were fooled

One would think that the Petersen Committee should take this criticism over. But the committee did not, and here Heier, Ottosen and Tvedt catch up. Tvedt takes up the Norwegian idea of ​​war as "the will of the world community". He quotes British Commissioner Crispin Blunt as saying: "The original aim of the military intervention to protect Benghazi was achieved within 24 hours" (actually within 2-3 hours when French aircraft had eliminated the Benghazi government forces). Ottosen says that "Norwegian media failed with a few exceptions". Morten Bøås at NUPI refers to the war as a disaster for North Africa. Professor of Political Science, Øyvind Østerud, compares the Norwegian and British reports. Geir Ulfstein, professor with international law as a specialty, writes that Norway "contributed to a violation of international law". I refer in my chapter to the Norwegian authorities being completely deceived.

Libya: the unbearable ease of war

The book of the same name as this article was launched at Cappelen-Damm on September 13th. The Conservative leader of the British Commission, Crispin Blunt, had agreed to participate, and Petersen had also agreed – but Petersen had never been able to participate in such a thing, and some loyalty must be accepted between British and Norwegian parties. Blunt announced that he could not come.

See also: Libya report (Regjeringen.no)

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Ola Tunander
Tunander is Professor Emeritus of PRIO. See also wikipedia, at PRIO: , as well as a bibliography on Waterstone

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