Crisis in Libya: Who is to blame?

Former NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen defends intervention against Gaddafi, and we debate Kurdish independence in Iraq.

In this week’s UpFront, we talk to the former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who still maintains the NATO-led air campaign against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was a “model intervention”.

In the Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan explains how, although the refugee crisis in Europe may be overwhelming, the scale of the catastrophe is much worse in Africa.

And in the Arena, we debate the future of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq, and whether it would further destabilise the already war-torn country.

Headliner: Ex-NATO boss: Libya still a ‘model intervention’

Five years after an armed revolution, supported by a NATO-led air campaign, resulted in the overthrow and death of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya continues to find itself in turmoil.

The UN-backed government still comes under repeated threat from armed militias.

But who is to blame?

In this week’s Headliner, former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen defends the air strikes on Libya that led to the toppling of Gaddafi.

According to Rasmussen, the ensuing turmoil in Libya isn’t due to NATO’s “model intervention”, but because the “international community did not follow up politically”.

“It was a very successful military intervention,” Rasmussen says. “I had expected … the UN to stand ready to assist the new authorities, but the UN didn’t.”

Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s latest book is The Will to Lead: America’s Indispensable Role in the Global Fight for Freedom.

Reality Check: Europe vs Africa: The refugee double standard

As hundreds of thousands of refugees continue to make their way into the European Union – which in 2015 received 1.3 million asylum applications – many governments have begun passing anti-immigration laws in response.

But while “wealthier” Europe panics over the influx of asylum seekers, the numbers are much higher in Africa.

In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan sets the record straight on how Africa is really bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis.

Arena: Could Kurdish independence lead to a new Iraq war?

In 2014, following the withdrawal of Iraqi forces, Kurdish Peshmerga troops seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Two years on and with a fresh joint offensive against ISIL under way, calls for Kurdish independence are getting stronger. But in the absence of any real power-sharing negotiations with the Iraqi government, some are left wondering if the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is making a landgrab instead.

The KRG – with its own executive leadership, armed forces and diplomats abroad – is able to sign oil deals with foreign companies on its own. But the KRG says it is being held back; that the Peshmerga is not armed or trained properly, and that it cannot tap into international market as freely as it would like.

If the autonomous Kurdish region were to declare independence, what would it mean to war-torn Iraq? Could it spark a new war?

In this week’s Arena, we debate the future of Iraq’s Kurds. Joining us are Iraq scholar Abbas Kadhim, and Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the official representative in the United States of the KRG.

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