A political solution remains out of reach for Libya seven years after the toppling of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
The country is grappling with civil war, humanitarian crises and the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), leading some to suggest Gaddafi should not have been removed from power.
Was the 2011 foreign intervention into Libya a mistake?
“It [was] a huge mistake and I think both Libyans and the world is paying for it”, says Hafed al-Ghwell, a columnist at Arab News and former senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
“It was a civil war between two sides of Libya in 2011. There [was], and still [is], significant tribal presence that is in support of Gaddafi and … still loyal to him,” he says. “NATO and Europe intervened on behalf of one side against another.”
Mustafa Abushagur, former deputy prime minister of the post-Gaddafi government, disagrees.
“What is going on today is really [that] we are paying for the legacy of the regime,” he says. “If the intervention had not happened, Libyans could have been killed, thousands by thousands by the hands of Gaddafi.”
“When Gaddafi was toppled, there [were] no institutions in the country to be able to carry on,” says Abushagur.
In this week’s Arena, Hafed Al Ghwell and Mustafa Abushagur debate the pros and cons of today’s Libya.