The Arab Spring of 2011 seems like a distant memory. At the time there were great hopes, particularly among young people across Arab capitals such as Cairo, Damascus and Tripoli. “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,” wrote Wordsworth of the French revolution, “but to be young was very heaven!”
Six years later the hopes of youth have been dashed. President Assad has all but won the Syrian civil war, with 500,000 Syrians losing their lives. Out of a country of 25 million, 11 million have been displaced, and nearly five million have left the country. Yet the fate of Libya is probably even more responsible for the migration crisis in Europe than the Syrian civil war.
We can debate the rights and wrongs of our intervention in Libya in 2011. But what is clear today is that a country which had a stable government under Colonel Gaddafi is now a breeding ground for militias controlled by various warlords.
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