A Paris conference on post-war Libya is being used by Western officials to downplay the threat of their role turning into a long, Iraq-style occupation, with officials insisting they will limit their meddling to providing advice and cash.
To that end they say billions of dollars will be pledged to the rebels in creating a new regime, and in keeping with the rebels’ new-found opposition, they will not be planning to deploy ground troops, at least for now.
Instead, the focus seems to be on carving up Libya’s only serious industry amongst themselves, with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe insisting it was “fair and logical” for French companies to get key contracts for supporting the war.
It is perhaps unsurprising that, as officials hope to “learn the lessons of Iraq” in how to prop up a new regime without a decade of bloody occupation, that they would also be eager to avoid the other perceived misstep, their inability to turn the Iraqi occupation into a no-bid extravaganza for oil companies. With BP and Italy’s Eni already poised to cash in, it seems this may be a lesson learned.