US may start anti-ISIL campaign in Libya

According to the NYT, the US may be opening a new front against ISIL in Libya

US may start anti-ISIL campaign in Libya

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Pentagon has started gathering intelligence on Libya as Obama administration is planning to open a third front against ISIL in the war-torn North African country, according the editorial board of The New York Times. 

Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Friday that military officials were "looking to take decisive military action" against the ISIL in Libya, where Western officials estimate the terrorist group has roughly 3,000 fighters.

The White House officials say the campaign could start within weeks and that help of European allies, such as UK, France and Italy, is anticipated. The planning is unfolding amid political chaos in Libya, which continues to reel from the aftermath of the 2011 civil war that ended with the killing of the country's longtime leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. In recent months the United Nations has struggled to persuade two groups of Libyan officials who claim to be the country's rightful leaders to band together. On Monday, the West-backed parliament rejected a unity government proposal brokered by the UN.

The political strife and infighting among rival militias created an opening for the ISIL in Libya in 2014. Gen. Dunford told reporters that striking the cells of ISIL fighters in Libya would "put a firewall" between that front and sympathizers of the group elsewhere in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the NYT, that is a reasonable goal. But military officials have yet to make a persuasive case that it is achievable. Even if the Pentagon and its allies were to manage to strike ISIL targets successfully, it remains uncertain that they would have a reliable ground force to hold the terrain. There's good reason to believe that airstrikes would create the temptation to deploy ground troops to gather intelligence and provide technical support to opposition forces as they have in Iraq and Syria.

Source: The New York Times

Last Mod: 26 Ocak 2016, 16:22
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