Britain's Return to Libya: From the Battle of al-Alamein in the Western Libyan Desert to the Military Intervention in the 'Arab Spring' Upheaval

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Abstract

This study examines political, economic, and strategic relations between Libya and Britain from the Second World War to the 2011 'Arab Spring' conflict in Libya. Analysing primary and secondary sources, this study attempts to determine if a connection exists between the British fighting in Libya during the Second World War and the British-led military intervention in the Libyan 'Arab Spring' revolt against Muammar Qaddafi's regime. Britain retained a strategic and economic presence in Libya in the period following the country's independence in 1951. The rise to power of Qaddafi in 1969, however, changed the course of bilateral ties. Qaddafi nationalized British assets in Libya, and implemented anti-Western policies. Ties with Britain were strained, reaching a low point during the 1980s and 1990s with Libya's persecution of political dissidents in Britain. A brief rapprochement between Tripoli and London from 2001 to 2011 brought normalization of ties and renewed British investment in the Libyan oil sector. However, in February 2011, Britain and its western partners aided Libyan rebels in their fight against Qaddafi, successfully toppling his regime. Today, as the struggle for power continues in Libya - with Islamist groups representing a serious force vying for power - many questions remain concerning the future direction of the Libyan state and society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-695
Number of pages21
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Volume49
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

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