Libya mission “a model for the future,” says top US advisor
By Brian Beary | Wednesday 04 April 2012
As transatlantic leaders prepare for the NATO summit in Chicago, on 20-21 May, an esteemed advisor to US governments on security since the 1970s has outlined his vision for how Europe and the US should work together in the 21st century. The French and British-led and US-backed 2011 mission in Libya that led to the toppling of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi “could be the model for the future,” said Brent Scowcroft in a speech at the Atlantic Council think tank, on 3 April. In addition to the strong transatlantic cooperation it showed, the Libya mission crucially won Arab League support and the United Nations’ blessing. Such a model “gets jobs done that need to be done”. While Europe’s forces might have prevailed in Libya without US support, the mission exposed how European militaries did not have the kind of specialty capabilities it needed for such operations, he warned.
The fact that the speech was given at the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, the event’s host, “was a good symbol” of that model of cooperation forged in Libya, Scowcroft said. The model might work in resolving the Israel–Palestine conflict, although he doubted it could be used to resolve the ongoing conflict in Syria given that country’s complexity. Invading Syria “would be a catastrophe” akin to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, he said. Commenting on Iran, Scowcroft was “somewhat optimistic” that China and Russia would eventually recognise, as the EU and US did, the long-term threat that Iran posed to global security. But he advised strongly against an Israeli military strike on Iran to take out its nuclear capability, saying thus would make Iran “like al-Qaeda on steroids [...] making trouble in every way possible”.