Leaders of the small parties represented in Parliament are increasingly questioning whether it was right for Norway to take such an active role in NATO’s military attacks on Libya in 2011. Two of the parties even sat in Norway’s Labour-led government at the time, but with Libya now in chaos, they’re grappling with regrets.
The Center Party and the Socialist Left party (SV) went along with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Labour Party in supporting the attacks. So did a unifed Parliament, and Norway was one of the most active participants in bombing raids over Libya. Today Stoltenberg is NATO’s secretary general.
The attacks, which toppled the regime of Moamar Gadhafi, were aimed at ushering in democracy. Radical Islamists have instead seized power, the country is in a state of collapse and thousands of Libyan refugees are fleeing over the Mediterranean.
“Based on what we knew in 2011, it was correct to take part in the military operation in Libya,” Liv Signe Navarsete, who headed the Center Party that was part of the government coalition at the time, told news bureau NTB this week. “In hindsight, we can ask whether it really was correct.”
Trine Skei Grande, leader of the Liberal Party that now supports the conservative government coalition that replaced Stoltenberg’s government, said the consequences could have been “very serious” if NATO hadn’t acted, but she also questions whether it was correct to take part.