The 2011 Libyan Intervention

  • Julie GareyEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)


This chapter analyzes the 2011 Libyan revolution. Concerned about the possibility of a humanitarian crisis in Libya and spillover into other states in North Africa and the Middle East, the international community acted quickly to formulate plans for a possible intervention. The resulting operations—Operation Odyssey Dawn (OOD) and Operation Unified Protector (OUP)—reveal the US-NATO relationship under the Obama administration and the benefits of NATO participation to the legitimacy of the Libyan intervention. The legitimizing effects of NATO factored into the United States’ decision to pursue NATO leadership during the planning of Operation Unified Protector—many American officials believed NATO leadership would lend more legitimacy to the operation than a coalition of states or an individual state. However, legitimation of the operation was a secondary concern for the United States, as its primary reason for pushing the alliance’s leadership was to alleviate the military and political burden on the United States. As OUP continued, the alliance’s weaknesses and the Europeans’ inability to end the operation without substantial support from the United States became clear and the administration was forced to increase its contributions to effectively end operations.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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