The United States and its Western Allies began bombing Yemen on January 12th of this year. One of the poorest countries in the world, in what the United States called a defensive action against the Houthis, an Iranian-backed militia. For the aggressive action of placing a blockade on the state of Israel for their incursion into Gaza to eradicate Hamas, which has seen the death of 30,000+ people.
The United States’ strategy of bombing nations to suppress terrorist groups has proven to be ineffective in most contemporary bombing campaigns. Despite the perceived notion that military intervention through airstrikes can effectively dismantle these groups, the reality has shown a different outcome. These actions have often resulted in unintended consequences, such as increased civilian casualties, destruction of infrastructure and a rise in anti-American sentiment. While the initial intention behind these bombings may have been to neutralize the threat posed by terrorists, they have instead fueled resentment and further recruitment for these groups. The failure of this approach raises questions about the effectiveness of military force in combating terrorism.
The Taliban had gained control over most of Afghanistan by 1996 and were slowly closing in on other Afghan groups to fully take the state in 2001 before the United States began the war on terror after 9/11, The United States would invade in October and would take control of the country and would be handed to the other Afghan groups while assisting them with maintaining control.
Afghanistan experienced endless bombings for 21 years under the guise of fighting the Taliban. This excursion into the Middle East only grew anti-American sentiments throughout the region, especially in Afghanistan. When the United States withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban would take over the entire country within a year of the United States’ withdrawal.
Libya under Gaddafi grew significantly, child marriage was banned. Women enjoyed equality of equal pay for equal work, equal rights in divorce and access to higher education rose from 8% in 1966 to 43% in 1996, equal to that of men. Homelessness was insignificant, with literacy rates estimated at 88%, and average life expectancy rose from 51/54 in 1969 to 74/77. The GDP per capita peaked in 2007, at 33,346 dollars.
In the wake of the 2010 protests in Tunisia, which kickstarted the 2011 Arab Spring, anti-government protests and rebellions, would kickstart the 2011 Civil War in Libya after police clashed with military forces. The US and NATO would quickly intervene in the region, establishing a no-fly zone, demanding a ceasefire and instigating a blockade against Libya. Gaddafi would ultimately die after NATO attacked his convoy during his attempt to flee the country, leaving him to be caught by the rebel groups who would end his life.
Since the death of Gaddafi, Libya has devolved into a state of despair. The once-rebel group, the National Transitional Council, took over. However, Libya would descend into another civil war that would last for the next six years. The aftermath of Gaddafi’s death and the subsequent power struggle has left Libya in a state of chaos and uncertainty. This prolonged conflict not only brought further devastation to the nation but also resulted in a severe economic downturn. Libya’s GDP fell significantly from 31,394 in 2010 to a mere 19,797 in 2022, reflecting the dire impact of years of conflict on the country’s economy. The consequences of this prolonged instability have also led to a fragmented society, with Libya now divided among various factions vying for power and control. The situation in Libya serves as a grim reminder of the long-lasting consequences of the United States and Western forces’ bombing campaigns
The history of US intervention in foreign countries, such as Afghanistan and Libya, has often resulted in negative outcomes. Afghanistan has experienced a severe humanitarian crisis since the Taliban retook control, causing violence, displacement and a lack of basic necessities. In Libya, the country has descended into multiple civil wars, with no stable governance and various factions competing for power. These examples demonstrate the unintended consequences of foreign intervention, showing that it can lead to destabilization and suffering instead of stability and peace.