Trump changes stance on US intervention in Libya

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in San Jose, California on June 02, 2016. (AFP photo)

Presumptive US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has reversed his position on American intervention in Libya.

In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Trump said he would have ordered a "surgical" strike to kill former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

“I didn't mind surgical. And I said surgical. You do a surgical shot and you take him out,” said Trump, who had earlier said that US meddling in Libya was a mistake.

“We would be so much better off if Gaddafi would be in charge right now," Trump said during a Republican presidential debate in February.

But in the interview on Sunday, Trump changed his position. "I was for something, but I wasn't for what we have right now.”

“I wasn't for what happened. Look at the way — I mean look at with Benghazi and all of the problems that we've had. It was handled horribly. … I was never for strong intervention. I could have seen surgical where you take out Gaddafi and his group,” he stated.

In March 2011, a coalition of US-backed Western countries, including the UK and France, launched airstrikes on Libya to oust Gaddafi following an uprising there.

Gaddafi was deposed and murdered later that year shortly after the fall of the capital Tripoli to militants in August.

Former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi

But the ensuing power vacuum allowed various militant groups, including a Daesh affiliate, to gain power in the country and exploit its natural resources.

Nearly five years after the overthrow of Gaddafi, Libya is still grappling with rising insecurity as the country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups. The former rebels refuse to lay down arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.

Both US President Barack Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton keep arguing that Gaddafi’s overthrow did not incite the Libyan crisis and the chaos was rather caused by the coalition’s failure to prop up a stable government in the days following.

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