LONDON — Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s 2011 decision to intervene militarily in Libya was misguided and helped give rise to Islamist extremism in North Africa, a key British parliamentary committee said Wednesday.
The harsh report slams Cameron and his National Security Council for expanding a civilian protection mission in Libya to include regime change and failing to adequately plan for the country’s future after the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Khadafy.
It said that Britain’s military action was based on ‘‘erroneous assumptions’’ and an ‘‘incomplete understanding’’ of the ramifications of removing Khadafy and that Cameron’s team should have been aware that the rebel groups Britain was backing contained ‘‘significant’’ numbers of extremists.
‘‘The UK’s actions in Libya were part of an ill-conceived intervention, the results of which are still playing out today,’’ said committee chairman Crispin Blunt, a Conservative Party legislator. He said evidence gathered by the committee suggested the threat to civilians used to justify intervention had been overstated.
France and Britain led an international coalition in a series of airstrikes against Khadafy in March 2011..The oil-rich North African country descended into chaos after the intervention and parts of it have become a bastion for Islamic State extremists.
The parliamentary report says the failure to plan for the aftermath led to political collapse, internal warfare, a humanitarian crisis and the rise of the Islamic State group — a criticism similar to the findings of an earlier official inquiry, known as the Chilcot Report, into Britain’s role in the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.