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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From the February 17 Revolution to Benghazi: rewriting history for political gain
Author:St John, Ronald BruceISNI
Periodical:The Journal of North African Studies (ISSN 1743-9345)
Geographic term:Libya
Arab Spring
military intervention
human rights
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/13629387.2016.1152189
Abstract:In February 2011, peaceful demonstrations in Benghazi and other Libyan cities in support of additional housing, more jobs, and a better way of life quickly turned into demands for regime change after security forces employed deadly force in an effort to subdue the protesters. As the February 17 Revolution unfolded, the better equipped and trained security forces of the Qaddafi regime soon bested inexperienced and poorly armed rebel units, threatening to retake Benghazi and engage in acts of retribution similar to those the regime had employed in the past to punish acts of dissent or revolt. In response, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, authorising member states to take 'all necessary measures' to protect civilians under threat of attack. The policies of the Qaddafi regime in the years before the February 17 Revolution and in the early weeks of the revolt thoroughly justified the UN-supported military intervention that began in mid-March 2011; nevertheless, some academics, journalists, and politicians have distorted events in this time frame to argue that it was not a model intervention but a model failure. Kindred spirits have seized on a contrived, misleading analysis to challenge the foreign policy legacy of the Obama administration and the role in Libya of then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Historical revisionism enjoys a long and cherished tradition; however, a selective rendering of events for political gain undermines the democratic process in both Libya and the USA and threatens to distort future policy decisions on Libya and other countries, replacing authoritarian regimes with democracies. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]