Atlantic Council Board Director Ahmed Charai writes for the Hill on why an international approach is needed to combat the threats posed by the chaotic security situation in Libya:
A year ago in the American public discussion, Libya had largely been reduced to a rhetorical device. Media and policymakers at the time were focused on whether the United States should intervene in Syria, and Libya served opponents of intervention largely as a cautionary tale: “Libya should remind the U.S. administration and Congress of the limits, and risks, of military intervention,” one typical editorial declared.
Similar sentiments were conveyed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and a panoply of American think tanks. This trend was duly criticized in an analysis by Rhiannon Smith of the “Open Democracy” project, who wrote, “There seems to be a trend of using Libya as a lens through which to view, understand, and even judge other high-profile conflicts and struggles in the region, yet little attention is paid to Libya’s issues in their own right.” Having intervened militarily in cooperation with its NATO allies to help oust Gadhafi, it behooved the United States to follow through in ensuring the unity and stability of the country. Its failure to do so is tragic — but now is the time to look forward, not backwards.