Military Intervention in the Middle East and North Africa: The Case of NATO in Libya, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Military Intervention in the Middle East and North Africa

The Case of NATO in Libya, 1st Edition

By Susannah O'Sullivan


188 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138669758
pub: 2017-08-24
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315618012
pub: 2017-08-29
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


This book contributes to an increasingly important branch of critical security studies that combines insights from critical geopolitics and postcolonial critique by making an argument about the geographies of violence and their differential impact in contemporary security practices, including but not limited to military intervention. The book explores military intervention in Libya through the categories of space and time, to provide a robust ethico-political critique of the intervention.

Much of the mainstream international relations scholarship on humanitarian intervention frames the ethical, moral and legal debate over intervention in terms of a binary, between human rights and state sovereignty. In response, O’Sullivan questions the ways in which military violence was produced as a rational and reasonable response to the crisis in Libya, outlining and destabilising this false binary between the human and the state. The book offers methodological tools for questioning the violent institutions at the heart of humanitarian intervention and asking how intervention has been produced as a rational response to crisis.

Contributing to the ongoing academic conversation in the critical literature on spatiality, militarism and resistance, the book draws upon postcolonial and poststructural approaches to critical security studies, and will be of great interest to scholars and graduates of critical security studies and international relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Libya’s ‘model intervention’

  1. Humanitarian Intervention and R2P in Critical Perspective
  2. From Humanitarian Intervention to R2P

    The critique of intervention and R2P: a view from where?

  3. Space, time and insecurity: Challenge hegemonic liberal space-time
  4. Outlining a critical spatio-temporal methodology

    Challenging progressive liberal time

  5. Their History, Our Speed: Precision and Speed in Virtuous War in Libya
  6. The need for speed in military intervention

    Humanitarianism from a great height: grey battle lines in the virtuous war

  7. Bombs, Torture and Migrants: The Colonial Present in Libya
  8. Colonial entanglements and the making of the Libyan state

    A two-dimensional ‘Gaddafi’s Libya’ and multidimensional geographies of violence

    Coming in from the cold: Arms, torture and migration in the deal with Gaddafi

  9. Geographies of the uprising: rag-tag rebels and military deficiencies
  10. Imaginative geographies of the Libya conflict

    ‘Rag-tag rebels’: juvenility, fear and threat

    Libya’s political space post-Gaddafi

    Coda: Contestation and disorder

  11. Voices of Resistance

Voices of the uprising, rebuilding the state

Conclusion: When a war is not a war, and resisting humanitarian intervention

About the Author

Susannah O’Sullivan teaches International Relations at the University of Bristol and University of Leicester, UK. She received her PhD from the University of Manchester in 2015.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: