Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary has described as a ‘tragedy’ the ouster of former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Johnson during the week became the first top western diplomat to visit the war ravaged north African nation. He told the BBC that western powers ‘were way over-optimistic’ about Libya’s future post-Gaddafi.
Whiles stressing that Libya was more divided than into two main blocs that is currently being projected, he said the country was technically lawless in most parts.
“There’s been a complete breakdown of government authority – Libya is not in a state of civil war – it would be more accurate to describe it as in a state of anarchy.
“There is no government authority who runs the country and there are large parts of it where there is no government at all,” he is quoted to have said.
He met the major factions in the current political and security crisis and tasked them to put the interest of the Libyan people first. He first met Tripoli-based United Nations-backed government led by Fayez Al-Sarraj before holding talks with Benghazi based Halifa Haftar.
Boris underscored the importance of Libya in the fight against irregular migration. There has been a surge in the phenomenon since the 2011 overthrow of Gaddafi. He also pledged £9m to help tackle people trafficking and terrorism.
Key time lines in the Libya crisis
1969 – Muammar Gaddafi rose to power
Feb 2011 – An armed uprising started in the country
March 2011 – NATO forces entered Libya enforcing a no-fly zone
June 2011 – The ICC issues an arrest warrant for Gaddafi and his son
August 2011 – Gaddafi reportedly quit Tripoli as rebels advanced
October 2011 – He is captured and killed in his hometown of Sirte along with a son
November 2011 – Saif al-Islam is captured by a militia and held in town of Zintan
July 2015 – Tripoli court hands death sentence to Saif al-Islam in absentia
July 2016 – His lawyer announces Saif’s release but it is ‘rubbished’ by his captors
June 2017 – Second release announced but his whereabouts unknown
June 2017 – ICC prosecutor issues ‘arrest and surrender’ order for Saif al-Islam
How Libya descended into the present chaos
The north African oil-producer was plunged into an armed conflict in 2011 following an uprising that led to the fall of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) joined rebels groups as part of efforts to oust Gaddafi.
NATO primarily enforced a no-fly zone over Libya. After seven months, the UN Security Council voted to end NATO’s mandate on 31 October following the death of Gaddafi. The former leader was captured in his hometown of Sirte and killed by his captors.
Libya is currently split with rival governments holding different parts. Islamic State insurgents also held parts of Sirte until they were recently pushed them out.
Libya has become the biggest security threat in the region whiles Europe continues to suffer floods of illegal immigration which was largely controlled during the Gaddafi regime.