UK 'Created Terrorist Breading Ground' in Libya Amid Reports of Deployments

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The UK's failure to support the Libyan government following the 2011 military intervention has helped create a breading ground for terrorists, according to one of David Cameron's own MPs, amid reports Britain is set to send 1,000 troops to Libya to protect oil fields from Daesh militants.

While there is speculation British special forces are already on the ground in Libya paving the way for a 1,000-strong brigade to fight Daesh alongside a coalition of European and US forces, UK Prime Minister David Cameron was questioned about the country's strategy in Libya, following the 2011 western military intervention that helped topple former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

In September 2011, Cameron said that Libya would not be plunged into instability like had happened in Iraq post-western intervention, and the country would have the support of Britain and other allies.

"Your city was an example to the world as you threw off a dictator and chose freedom," Cameron said from Benghazi's Tahrir Square after Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.

"Your friends in Britain and France will stand with you as you build your democracy," he added.

'The Humanitarian Balance Sheet Doesn't Look Good'

However, MP Andrew Tyrie, a senior lawmaker form Cameron's own Conservative party, argued that that is exactly what had happened due to a lack of support for the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC).

Libya quickly descended into violence with the country's internationally recognized government forced to flee to the eastern city of Tobruk as rival Islamist rebels took control of the capital of Tripoli, while many other militant groups, including those aligned to Daesh, sprung up in the country.

As a result, the UK was accused of not learning the lessons from the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, and failing to implement a coherent post-conflict strategy.

"The humanitarian balance sheet doesn't look good prime minister. The failure to engage in nation building has created a breeding ground for ISIL hasn't it?" Tyrie said.

Libyan protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against a UN-sponsored agreement on forming a national unity government, on December 11, 2015 in the capital Tripoli. - Sputnik International
Deep Divisions Remain Despite Bid for Unity Government in Libya
Cameron replied by saying the "Libyan people were given the opportunity" to build a stable democracy, but noted it was a "huge regret" that this hadn't been achieved.

"Gaddafi was bearing down on people in Benghazi and threatening to shoot his own people like rats," he said.

"An international coalition came together to protect those people and to help the Libyan people, who then got rid of Gaddafi.

"And they had an opportunity to build what they said they wanted […] we tried to do it in a way that was more remote than what had happened in Iraq. On this occasion, clearly it didn't work," said Cameron.

Western Troops Reportedly Planning to Protect Oil

The criticism of Britain abandoning Libya comes amid reports the UK is set to deploy 1,000 troops to the north African country as part of a joint US-European operation aimed at protecting oil fields under threat from Daesh. 

A Libyan security member walks by an oil drill on March 23, 2013 at the al-Ghani oil field, near the city of Waddan in the central Al-Jufrah province. - Sputnik International
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British newspaper the Daily Mirror reported that Special Air Service (SAS) troops and Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) surveillance specialists are already in Libya preparing for a major offensive against Daesh militants.

According to the paper, the special forces teams are preparing for the arrival of about 1,000 British infantrymen, who will take part in a 6,000-strong offensive against the group early this year, along with forces from France, Italy and the US.

In response, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) said: "No decisions have been made about the future deployment of any British military forces to Libya as part of an international coalition force."

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