Operation Unified Protector in Libya

23 March 2011 - 31 October 2011
Military personnel

In early 2011, a part of the Libyan population rose against the dictatorial regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi. This resistance followed from earlier protests and demands for more democracy in Tunisia and Egypt, in what was to become known as the Arab Spring.

At first, the demonstrators demanded that Gaddafi step down and democratic elections be held. The Libyan government troops used brute force to suppress the demonstrations, after which the situation quickly developed into an uprising. The UN Security Council condemned the violence and, on 26 February 2011, imposed an arms embargo on Libya.

Military action

On 17 March, in view of the continuing violence, the Security Council gave permission for military actions against the Gaddafi regime to protect civilians at risk.

A coalition comprising NATO members and a number of countries from the Arab League launched Operation Unified Protector, which imposed a no-fly zone and a blockade. NATO enforced the arms embargo with the help of ships, submarines and patrol aircraft. The no-fly zone was enforced by combat aircraft provided by the international coalition. In addition, attacks on ground targets were carried out. The bombing campaign was carried out only by countries that had agreed to the relevant section of the UN resolution. Operation Unified Protector ended after the fall of the Libyan regime on 31 October 2011.