The Cauldron

NATO's 2011 operation to protect civilians in Libya

NATO’s Libya Operation was a first in several ways: the first time the alliance operated in an Arab and African country, the first time Arab partners participated in kinetic strike missions, the first time it executed a UN mandate designed to protect civilians and the first time the United States were not in the lead.

This event examines the operation’s story from all sides concerned: spanning the hallways of the United Nations in New York, NATO Headquarters in Brussels and, crucially, the two operational epicentres: the Libyan battlefield, and Joint Force Command Naples, which was in charge of the mission.

Weighill and Gaub offer a comprehensive exploration of both the war's progression and the many challenges NATO faced, from its extremely rapid planning and limited understanding of Libya and its forces, to training shortfalls and the absence of post-conflict planning.

Listen to the podcast: The Cauldron

Download the podcast: The Cauldron

Event recorded Wednesday 20 March.


Rob Weighill is a retired major general and management consultant operating in strategic risk, resilience and defence. He spent five years at NATO’s multinational headquarters in Naples, led the planning of NATO’s Libyan intervention and directed operations from the Joint Task Force in 2011. Rob is working full time with London Underground in TfL as the Head of Change Design and Delivery Portfolio Office.

Florence Gaub is Deputy Director at the EU Institute for Security Studies; previously, she was employed at NATO Defence College. Her first book for Hurst, Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania, was published by Hurst in March 2017. *Please note that due to travel complications, Florence was unable to attend the event.*

LSE IDEAS (@lseideas) is LSE's foreign policy think tank. We connect academic knowledge of diplomacy and strategy with the people who use it.