A New Strategic Approach For The US In Libya
Emily Estelle has produced a thorough and expansive report for the American Enterprise Institute arguing America needs a new policy in Libya . The reports outlines a strategy for US policymakers to secure their critical interests in Libya and provides an assessment of the Libyan theatre. Estelle suggests current US foreign policy on Libya:
Prioritises short-term defense over long-term success. It has failed to stabilize Libya and defeat ISIS, and it has perpetuated the conditions that fuel recruitment for Salafi-jihadi groups. The focus on ISIS also ignores the full extent of the Salafi-jihadi threat in Libya, which includes a significant al Qaeda presence that US strategy does not meaningfully address.
The flaws of this strategy stem from a misunderstanding of the terrorist threat. The terrorist groups in Libya that threaten the US—al Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates—are manifestations of the global Salaf-jihadi movement. Their ultimate goal is violently transforming Muslim societies to establish a polity under a fundamentalist interpretation of shari’a. They use terrorist attacks when they believe those are most effective, but they also use conventional war, insurgency, and nonmilitary activities that we would normally call stabilization, reconstruction, and dispute resolution if they were not being carried out by our enemies. The US must finally recognize in Libya as elsewhere that defining our adversaries as terrorists and pursuing a purely counterterrorism strategy will lead to failure.
To read the report in full click here.