The 2011 Libya action by France, UK, US was supported by a UN resolution authorising enforcement of a no-fly zone - but is there any evidence that the resolution was used as a pretext for the larger act of regime change?

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    You'd have to supply a lot more information. terms like "subverted" imply an agenda that may be more appropriate to politics or discussion than to H:SE.
    – MCW
    Jun 8, 2016 at 12:50
  • I have reworded the question. Not sure if that helps.
    – 52d6c6af
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:28
  • Wikpedia says it was a NATO action involving 19 nations; you say it was three nations. Regime change can be driven by external factors or by internal factors or by some combination of the two. "pretext" implies that you're using this to accuse someone of imposing an external regime change, but I'm not clear who is accused of what action. I'm confused.
    – MCW
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:39
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    1) Since Gaddaffi had a working air force and the opposition did not, it is clear that the no-fly zone helped the rebels. But that does not justify the claim that "it was used as a pretext". 2) Perhaps you meant to ask if the USA, UK & France did go beyond what was needed by the UN resolution and used it to took further actions to help the rebels (under the cover of such resolution). That would make the question a little more answerable (although there could open a debate about what was "necessary" and what was "not necessary" to enforce the UN resolution).
    – SJuan76
    Jun 8, 2016 at 16:49
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    A totally valid question. The only problem: it is too soon.
    – Ne Mo
    Jun 10, 2016 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Your question can be broken down into several parts.

  • Did the NATO-led coalition deliberately try to topple the Gaddafi regime? I think we can all agree on a "yes" to that one.
  • In doing so, did they exceed the mandate of Resolution 1973? I don't think we will get a clear answer on that. The text calls for much more than just a no-fly zone, but it specificially excluded an occupation. Were the special forces teams an occupation force? Some governments which later called 1973 flawed and open-ended had abstained in the UNSC.
  • Was there another justification for the NATO-led actions in international law? Again hard to tell, since some of those who argued most passionately against NATO intervention later used military force in their own neighborhoods. Since different cases are never exactly identical, this can be argued at length without a clear answer.

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