Islamic State Threat in Libya ‘Almost Exaggerated’ — for Now
An article published by Voice of America discusses governmental and analyst skepticism over whether or not ISIS will be able to replicate its military surge of 2014 through Iraq and Syria in its current efforts to expand in Libya. Despite specific obstacles barring the way for ISIS to surge in Libya, significant cause for concern does exist, though. The number of ISIS fighters in Libya has doubled over the past year and there is pressure for ISIS leaders to view Libya primarily as a safe-haven and training ground for attacks against the West.
It is “significantly harder” for IS to operate inside Libya, “because they don’t have the homegrown people that know as much about Libya like they did in Iraq and Syria,” General David Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Africa Command, told Pentagon reporters Thursday.
Still, there is ample concern IS’s status in Libya will change, especially if the country’s political struggles continue.
“It is the most important holding for ISIS outside of Syria and Iraq,” said Jason Pack, founder of EyeOnISISinLibya.com.
“They don’t need more cannon fodder of disgruntled youth in the region,” Pack said. “They need Western-educated dual citizens.”
“Libya is a place to train such people and then have them attract more Tunisians and sub-Saharan Africans and build a political entity,” he added.
“The real threat might not be from Libya but from the menace and instability it radiates into Tunisia and other North African countries,” according to the Soufan Group’s Skinner.
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