1st Edition

The EU, NATO and the Libya Conflict Anatomy of a Failure

By Stefano Marcuzzi Copyright 2022
    268 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    268 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the causes and implications of the Libyan crisis since the anti-Gaddafi uprisings of 2011 from the perspective of the EU and NATO.

    It asks the question of why those organizations failed to stabilize the country despite the serious challenges posed by the protracted crisis to European and transatlantic stakes in the region. This book argues that such failure originated in a twofold problem common to both organizations: their prioritization of legitimacy over strategy, and their path dependence – the insufficient degree of adaptation to meet the different needs of the crisis. Through a critical and integrated analysis of official sources and extensive interviews with EU, NATO, UN, and national government officials and militaries, as well as from NGO personnel, Libyan institutions and civil society, and media, the volume brings the perspective of both state and non-state actors to the fore. It reveals how wrong assumptions and centrifugal forces within the EU and NATO hampered initiatives, and how the inability to use hard power judiciously and effectively in an increasingly complex and multifaceted scenario worsened the crisis. This allowed for unprecedented influence of regional and global competitors such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey and Russia in the richest African country.

    This book will be of key interest for scholars and students of Libya and North Africa, NATO, the European Union, security and conflict studies, Middle East studies, migration, terrorism, peacebuilding and, more broadly, international relations.


    Part 1: Responsibility to Protect

    1. The EU and NATO on the Eve of the Libyan War: Strategy and Institutions

    2. Bloody Spring: The Libya Conflict of 2011

    3. Intervention: Half-Hearted Hard Power

    Part 2: Responsibility to Rebuild

    4. The Years of Missed Opportunities: Soft Power to the Test, 2012–2014

    5. Civil War and Proxy War: From Soft to Hard Security Crisis, 2014–2016

    6. From State-Building to Containment: Eluding or Deputizing Hard Security Measures, 2017–2018

    7. From a Proxy War to an Internationalized War: The Need for Hard Power, 2019 and Beyond

    Conclusions and Heading Forward


    Stefano Marcuzzi is Marie Curie Fellow at University College Dublin, Ireland, Visiting Scholar at Carnegie Europe, Brussels, Belgium and Emerging Challenges Analyst at the NATO Defense College Foundation, Rome, Italy.