Islamic State Gains Libya Foothold
Here is a simple overview from the BBC of the kind of coverage ISIS is getting in Libya. I am quoted saying the rather usual but important stuff like that ISIS ‘problem’ cannot be solved without a political solution in Libya.
Moreover, Libya is rich in oil and, earlier this month, gunmen claiming to represent IS raided a French-run oil facility in al-Mabruk, south of Sirte city, killing at least 11 guards. “They are able to attack oil pipelines, but as of yet lack the capability to sell smuggled oil on the open market. Nonetheless, many IS-aligned fighters collect salaries from the Libyan state,” Jason Pack, a researcher in Libyan history at the UK’s Cambridge University, told the BBC…..
Mr Pack points out that the country has three main power blocks:
- Libya Dawn (a mixture of Islamist and non-Islamist militias allied with the Tripoli-based government),
- Operation Dignity (led by forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar and allied with the internationally recognised government based in the eastern city of Tobruk) and
- Jihadist groups (which include IS, al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia – the most powerful of them).
“There is a civil war between the two main groups [Libya Dawn and Operation Dignity]. The jihadists act as spoilers,” Mr Pack told the BBC.
He is opposed to Egypt’s military intervention, saying it could make the internationally recognised government wrongly conclude that it could defeat its rivals – a perception that has grown following its 23 February decision to withdraw from UN-brokered peace talks.
“You need a national unity government to tackle IS. It is in Libya because the political process has failed,” Mr Pack told the BBC.
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